According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the per capita rate of new syphilis and chlamydia cases across Canada have increased since 2000. Health experts believe there may be a correlation with the increase of online dating platforms. In North America, the revenue generated by the online dating industry has risen from $40 million in 2000 to $1.5 billion annually. The health scare, which is being linked to middle-aged and older people, is thought to have to do with the false sense of intimacy and trust meeting people online can foster.

“People these days tend to go on the Internet to find partners there and don’t seem to inform themselves very much, they just want to have sex, and they get infected,” said Dr. Denis Allard, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health. Although little research has been done on the direct correlation, a quarter of Canadians have taken part in Internet dating, and 16 percent had sex with someone they met online. In the U.S., 43 percent of the women surveyed by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta had had sex with someone they met first online and tended to have a higher rate of sexually transmitted infections. “The Internet is a flourishing sex venue” with a wide pool of partners and the potential “to spread an STI or HIV with greater efficiency than ever before imagined,” the CDC concluded. More research is being done in Canada and the U.S.

Does the correlation between online dating and STD transmission seem plausible? Also, will this news affect people’s feelings about digital dating?