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It is important for dating apps to promote STD awareness and prevention, says Philip Chan, the director of the HIV/STD Testing and Prevention Services at the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center in Rhode Island.

Gay dating apps in particular are starting to do more of this, he said.“The majority of (syphilis) cases are among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” Chan said.

It also works with public health departments when it comes to notifying a partner who may have been exposed to an STD, according to Senior Health Strategist David Novak, who served as the national syphilis elimination coordinator at both the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health before coming to work at Online Buddies, Manhunt’s parent company.

Grindr for Equality, the app’s health and social justice arm, partners with a network of LGBTQ community centers called Center Link to offer free ad space to small, rural community centers that offer health services in places where there may be few alternatives, according to Director of Grindr for Equality Jack Harrison-Quintana.

people they were with in the past 90 days, they could find the people.”Now, she said, “it’s very difficult to contact the partners, because many partners are anonymous.” People don't know their sex partners as intimately as they once did; they may be individuals they know mostly through a profile photo and short blurb.

Depending on the app, people may only identify themselves by first names or handles, though they often have the option of linking with their Facebook accounts.

Syphilis, a disease most people associate with the past, has returned with a roar, and public health experts think the rise in rates can be attributed at least partly to social media.

Infection rates are the highest they have been in 20 years, said David Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.