Some dating apps lead to STD outbreak
OKLAHOMA CITY - Meeting people is not like it used to be.
For many, drinking, dancing and dating have evolved with today's technology.
Apps like Tinder, Blendr and Grindr make it easier than ever before to hook up - call it the digital bar scene.
"It's not very satisfying," said former Tinder user Sarah Cornett. "It's mainly for like just hooking up, not really dating."
"There's not a lot of interaction before the engagement," said app user Keith Pratt. "It's let's meet, and you don't know what you're gonna get."
What many are getting is a disease that was all but eradicated decades ago, the same disease that affected figures like Al Capone, Adolf Hitler, even Beethoven.
Syphilis, once the modern scourge, is spreading again with the help of modern technology.
And, Oklahoma is following a national trend.
"We've had a dramatic increase," said RN Jan Fox with the Oklahoma State Health Department. "We've been increasing since 2012 in syphilis cases."
There were 151 documented cases of syphilis in 2014.
Oklahoma, Tulsa and Cleveland Counties have the most.
"It's fair to say this is sexual Russian roulette," Fox said. "When you have sex unprotected, you are putting yourself at risk to acquire syphilis and other STDs, as well."
The Oklahoma State Department of Health now has a team of intervention specialists.
Their job is to identify people who've been infected and encourage them to get treated ASAP.
"Because, syphilis is so dangerous and has long term consequences," Fox said. "Gonorrhea and those things are devastating, but syphilis can cause brain damage, heart damage and eventually death, so that makes it more of a priority for us."
Keith Pratt said he dodged a dangerous sexual bullet.
After a few 'Miss Right Nows,' he ultimately found 'Mrs. Right' - on, of all places, a dating app.
"We're engaged," Pratt said. "It turned out to be a lifelong partner, happy ending."