The report shows a sharp spike in syphilis cases among gay men who met on mobile hook-up apps. Credit: Philly Department of Health

new report from the Philadelphia Department of Health says mobile so-called hookup apps are contributing to a spike in reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases among gay men.

 

Statistics show those mobile app meetups among men that led to sex doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to the city.

 

Meanwhile, internet and in-person meetups among men that later led to sex declined through 2016.

 

The report, titled “The resurgence of syphilis among men who have sex with men,” directly links the new cases to the rise of so-called hookup apps like Grindr.

 

Mobile app users who contracted syphilis made up some two-thirds of the city’s syphilis cases — representing almost the entire increase above prior infection rates, the report concludes.

 

“These apps present a challenge for identifying and treating sexual partners of syphilis cases because the interaction is often anonymous and cannot be re-traced,” according to the report.

“Between 2005 and 2016, infectious syphilis diagnoses more than quadrupled, from 208 to 925” in Philadelphia, it stated.

Syphilis can have serious consequences and syphilis sores make HIV transmission more likely, the report said.

In 2016, 61 percent of reported syphilis cases in Philly were among gay men, the report found. Out of those cases, 59 percent were co-infected with HIV. These stats track with broader nationwide data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationwide, health agencies are reporting syphilis cases increased by 19 percent, gonorrhea by almost 13 percent, chlamydia by nearly 6 percent and 15.9 percent for HIV.