More connections with many more people are made rapidly through online dating services, officials said.
“As people rely on digital means of making connections, it can lead to circumstances where they might be more exposed to infection without them knowing it,” said Gerald Hasty, program co-ordinator for the state harm reduction branch. “More partners, more chances to get infections.”
There has also been decreasing reliance on condoms or prophylactics for protection against acquiring or spreading STDs, officials said.
The Hawaii figures correspond with the national rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections, which have risen for the fifth year in a row, officials said.
The increase is “not desirable, but it’s also not unexpected”.
The three infections do not cause distinct or troubling early symptoms so those who are infected have “absolutely no idea of it,” Hasty said.
“That sets the stage for the infections to be spread,” Hasty said. “Lack of regular screenings or routine screenings contributes to increasing rates.”