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Facebook blamed for rise in syphilis

  • 9 Comments

People using social networking sites such as Facebook are to blame for a four-fold increase in syphilis, a director of public health has claimed.

Professor Peter Kelly, who works for NHS Tees, said social networking sites such as Facebook have made casual sex easier to arrange.

He added that syphilis infection has risen sharply among heterosexuals in his area over the last year, claiming the main reason for the increase is unprotected sex.

“There has been a four-fold increase in the number of syphilis cases detected, with more young women being affected,” he said.

“Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex.

“Unprotected sex, especially with casual partners, is the biggest risk for syphilis. It is important that people avoid high-risk sexual behaviours and practice safe sex to protect themselves from sexually-transmitted infections.”

Syphilis symptoms vary, but the condition is especially dangerous for pregnant women, in whom it can lead to miscarriage or disability.

Nationally, the highest rates of syphilis are seen in women aged 20 to 24 and men aged 25 to 34. There were 3,588 cases diagnosed in 2008.

  • 9 Comments

Readers' comments (9)

  • Perhaps Facebook is also responsible for global warming, the global recesion and the JFK assassination?

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  • there are hundred of social networking sites out thee who actually dreams these things up and wheres the in depth research ? perhaps its also responsible for increased alcohol intake binge drinking, being obese and the chancellors budget ?what a lot of rubbish what next will big brother be looking further over our shoulders like in china???????

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  • Ronald Luton-Brown

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? It sounds like its going to happen any ways. But to put the blame on social networking sites is wrong it is the person having unprotected sex which is at fault get to the root cause dear! Sex with out protection kills not facebook! DUH!

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  • Martin Gray

    Perhaps more cases are being diagnosed because of the number of people being seen at DGUM clinics, where patients are screened for all STDs (or is it STIs - don't want to upset the PC brigade!).

    Does this eminent academic believe we should all get our sexual partners to fill in a questionnaire beforehand? The easy availability of drugs and alcohol, low moral standards and general 'I don't give a f***' attitude encountered in todays society are to blame. I bet at the end of the war, on VE dayfor example, there were that many unprotected sexual encounters it's a wonder syphilis didn't become an epidemic!!!

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  • I agree with the above comment. How indeed can we be sure Facebook is to blame and not a lack of public awareness on STI's? I attended a GUM clinic some time back after discovering my partner of 13yrs had been cheating on me for several months with some woman from his work with alcohol misuse problems. She later accused me of abusing my position as a nurse by getting myself checked out for STI's!! And she happens to be in her late 30's-old enough to know better, but neither of them bothered with protection or contraception. Any wonder there's an epidemic?

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  • laura collins

    Why should blame a social networking sites such as Facebook, yes this social networking sites has influenced a lot of people nowadays but it is depend upon to the person if he would not be careful. :-) Be socially aware enough....

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  • I work in Ayia Napa mainly with the 18-30 age group. The promiscuity and levels of unprotected sex is astounding. The spread of STD's is on the increase for many reasons. Social network sites give ease of meeting people that was previously non existent. Holidays geared up for youngsters which focus on sex, drugs and promiscuity. Lack of decent sex education, its out there but not effective, its not getting through. I have had so many young people come to me asking for STD tests and 'morning after pill'. Unprotected sex is still the norm with STD an afterthought. Now we are being told that some strains of STD's are becoming resistant to the antibiotic treatments. Perhaps its time to go back to the old fashioned way of scare tactics that I learned at school, horrific pictures and movies, sex education as is just isn't getting across.

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