Anorak News | Facebook Cures Syphilis

Facebook Cures Syphilis

by | 24th, March 2010

TODAY’S media scare story is that FACEBOOK “spreads syphilis”. The mouse, right? Or that button that says if you’ve got an SDT is not working?

Cases of syphilis are on the up –

Between 2000 and 2007, diagnoses of infectious syphilis in women rose by 474%
(from 78 to 448).

But how much of that is due to better reporting and Facebook?

The Sun has news – front-page news:

CASES of syphilis have increased four-fold in Britain’s Facebook capital as users meet up for unprotected sex, it was revealed yesterday.

Britain’s Facebook capital is Teeside – less a capital than a zone.

Professor Peter Kelly, director of Public Health for NHS Tees, said: “There has been a four-fold increase in the number of syphilis cases detected, with more young women being affected.”

What are the facts?

Prof Kelly said: “I don’t get the names of people affected, just figures. And I saw that several of the people had met sexual partners through these sites.”

How many people is several? What per cent of the total? We’re not told. Although the paper says that Health Protection Agency figures revealed there were 4,000 cases nationwide last year. And on Teeside there were…30 cases.

But rest assured that “the true figure is likely to be higher”.

In 2007, there were 3,762 cases diagnoses made in STI clinics (genitourinary medicine clinics) in the United Kingdom.

On the HPA website we learn:

Since 1997 cases have increased nationally and there have been a series of outbreaks amongst men who have sex with men and heterosexual men and women.

Mark Zuckerberg invented Facemash on October 28, 2003, sometime before it became Facebook.

Says the Sun’s doctor with a vested interest:

“Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex. There is a rise in syphilis because people are having more sexual partners than 20 years ago and often do not use condoms.”

Or as Dr Ian Holtby from the Teesside team of the Health Protection Agency said in 2006:

“We’ve discovered that several people within a relatively small geographical area have contracted syphilis this year which is well above expected levels.

“Plus, it’s proving difficult to trace some of the sexual contacts of the people who have been diagnosed with syphilis. This concerns us because we know there are people out there who are unaware that they may have become infected and may unwittingly be passing on the infection to their sexual partners.

But thanks to Facebook, you can trace people better. Facebook wins. Facebook stops the spread of syphilis!

Posted: 24th, March 2010 | In: Reviews Comments (7) | TrackBack | Permalink