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Facebook causes rise in syphilis: are you at risk?

  • Serial Ululer
  • Pioneer

Cases of syphilis have quadrupled in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside, the areas of Britain where Facebook is most popular.

Professor Peter Kelly, director of public health in Teesside, claimed staff had found a link between social networking sites and the spread of syphilis, especially among young women.

He said: “There has been a fourfold increase in the number of syphilis cases detected, with more young women being affected. Several of the people [who contracted syphilis] had met sexual partners through these sites. Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex."

A Facebook spokesman said: “The assertion that Facebook is responsible for the transmission of syphilis is ridiculous. Facebook is no more responsible for STD transmission than newspapers are responsible for bad vision. Today’s reports exaggerate the comments made by the professor, and ignore the difference between correlation and causation."

He added: "As Facebook’s more than 400 million users know, our website is not a place to meet people for casual sex – it’s a place for friends, family and co-workers to connect and share.”

Laura Michaels, 23, takes a different approach to the social networking site. She set up a group called "I Need Sex" on the site, inviting men to contact her and if she liked their picture, she arranged to meet up with them.

Within 10 minutes the group had 35 members and soon attracted 100 men, 50 of whom she slept with. She told The Sun: "I know that it was risky behaviour but that was part if the thrill."

She could see that people might "look down on me" for her scandalous behaviour and understood why some people said "she may as well have been a prostitute because then she would at least have been paid for sleeping with so many different men". However, she claimed: "I don't see it like that at all. I was satisfying my own desires by setting up the group."

 

Unless you are anything like this crazy woman, I think we can safely say you're not at risk :)

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