By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Doctors say our online dating habits could be partially to blame for a spike in STD infections.

The latest state report shows STD rates in Sacramento County are rising as fast as anywhere else in the state.

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And in California as a whole, there were more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis recorded in 2017. That’s a 45 percent increase from five years ago.

So why is Sacramento County getting hit hard?

Health experts say the STD spike is mostly hitting millennials. And they think with more and more young people moving to here, many of them may be ending up on dating apps.

But doctors say you could be swiping right to the doctor’s office.

The digital search for love has always been controversial.

“I don’t think it’s a proper way to be introduced,” said Brian Jennings who’s not on social media.

“I think that there’s been very few instances where it’s resulted in a long-term situation,” said Rachel Connors who’s also not a social media fan.

But doctors are now worried about the possible health consequences of popular dating apps.

“It’s those casual hookups,” said Sacramento California Dr. Olivia Kasirye.

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Dr. Olivia Kasirye partially blames those anonymous online hookups for a spike in STDs here.

Compared to the rest of the state, Sacramento County now has the sixth highest rate of chlamydia; the eighth highest rate of gonorrhea; and 10th highest rate of syphilis.

“What you find with that is they have multiple partners that they don’t really know as well,” said Dr. Kasirye.

But health experts say the sharp increase could also be due to better reporting.

“I get tested every six months and it is really important to know your status,” said Alex Sumagit.

Alex Sumagit tests for STDs far more often than he used to. And it just so happens, he met his partner online. But they were open from the start.

“You can’t assume that they’re clean negative or they don’t have anything you always have to be upfront and ask,” said Jeo Treto.

But what about prevention? Doctors say people were more aware of condom -use during the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in the 90s.

“People aren’t as afraid about STDs,” said Dr. Kasirye.

Officials say they’re working with the community to get the word out.
Some local bars even offer free condoms. And some dating apps recently added locators for STD testing.

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For another resource visit condomfinder.org.