US troops are using dating apps more and condoms less as sexually transmitted infections surge within the ranks

Health & Fitness

Members of Team McConnell attend a briefing on sexually transmitted infections April 5, 2019 at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The briefing was given by Mr. John Lucero, from Sedgwick County's Division of Health.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick)

The U.S. military is seeing an increase in sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in part due to dating apps, according to the Military Health System.

"There appears to be an increase in high-risk behaviors among service members; that is, having sex without a condom or having more than one sexual partner," Air Force physician Maj. Dianne Frankel said in a news release.


A 2015 Defense Department survey found that 20 percent of respondents said they had more than one sexual partner in the past year, and roughly 33 percent reported they had sex with a new partner in the past year without using a condom, the news release says.

Those data points had doubled since the 2011 survey.

One reason for the high rates of sexually transmitted infections is the military has a large population of male service members between the ages of 18 and 25, which is the most common group for such infections, Norma Jean Suarez, a nurse practitioner in preventive medicine at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, said in the news release.

Another factor contributing to the increase in infections is dating apps, which can promote more anonymous hookups, Suarez said in the news release.

"Anonymity can make partners difficult to track down," the news release says. "Having anonymous sex is one of the CDC's list of behaviors that can increase risk of contracting an STI or HIV [Human Immunodeficiency Virus]."

However, Suarez noted that the rates of service members who have contracted HIV have been "relatively stable" between 2012 and 2017.

The most reliable way to avoid getting sexually transmitted bacterial infections is to avoid having sex unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who is "known to be uninfected," said Col. Amy Costello, chief of preventive medicine at the Air Force Medical Support Agency.

"That's not a realistic plan for many of our younger service members who aren't yet married or in long-term monogamous relationships," Costello said in the news release.

That is why it is vital for service members to use condoms and get tested as soon as they show symptoms of sexually transmitted infections, she said.

SEE ALSO: Sexually Transmitted Diseases Are On The Rise Across The Military

WATCH NEXT: Sextortion, Explained

DoD photo

A word that could once not be mentioned in court — torture — was front and center on Friday as a military tribunal prepares to take on the long-delayed trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed chief plotter of the 9/11 attacks, and four other defendants.

"I know torture's a dirty word," defense attorney Walter Ruiz told the tribunal. "I'll tell you what, judge, I'm not going to sanitize this for their concerns."

Read More

The suspect in the death of 21-year-old U.S. Marine Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, who was fatally shot in the barracks of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort more than nine months ago, was found guilty in military court of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month and sentenced to more than five years.

Read More
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McKay

A U.S. Navy aircrew has been rescued after their MH-60S helicopter went down into the Philippine Sea on Saturday.

Read More
Photo: Fort Jackson Public Affairs

A 19-year-old Army private who died during basic training earlier this month was posthumously promoted to private first class, just before friends and family gathered for a memorial service to honor his life on Jan. 16.

Read More

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has demanded an apology from President Trump over recent comments in which he downplayed the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries suffered by American troops in an Iranian missile attack.

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter," William "Doc" Schmitz, VFW National Commander, said in a statement Friday, noting TBI is a serious injury known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches and other symptoms in the short and long-term.

Read More