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

Health & Fitness

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

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick)
(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. True Thao)

Army researchers have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer. Except that 3D printers are meant to print out knickknacks, not flak jackets — which meant that engineers had to hack into the printer to get the job done.

Read More Show Less

There are #squadgoals, and then there are squad goals — and only one of them includes a potential future accompanied by autonomous murderbots.

Hot on the heels of the Marine Corps's head-to-toe overhaul of infantry rifle squads, a handful of grunts at the Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California recently conducted field testing alongside a handful of autonomous robots engineered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Squad X Experimentation program.

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher dodged the most serious charges the Navy threw at him during his court martial, but his final sentence could be far worse than what the jury originally handed down.

If the convening authority approves the jury's sentence of four months' confinement and a reduction in rank from E7 to E6, Gallagher will be busted down to the rank of E1, according to Navy officials.

Read More Show Less

An otherwise sleepy confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper was jolted from its legislative stupor after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) grilled the former Raytheon lobbyist on ethical issues regarding his involvement with his former employer.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Air Force photo)

An Air Force major in Texas has been charged with the murder of his wife, whose remains were found more than four months after she went missing.

The body of 29-year-old Andreen McDonald was discovered Thursday in San Antonio following an exhaustive search that took 134 days, according to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

Read More Show Less