What can you find on Craigslist other than a six-foot crucifix guitar, an anatomically disturbing couch, a stalker, and a pyramid scheme job? You can get a sexually transmitted disease, according to a recent New York University study.
The study suggests that the casual sexual encounters that originate from Craigslist personal ads have contributed toward the increase in STDs in cities that have a dedicated Craigslist site. The research was conducted by Anindya Ghose, an NYU Stern School of Business associate professor of information, operations and management sciences, and graduate student Jason Chan.
The study, “Internet’s Dirty Secret: Assessing the Impact of Technology Shocks on the Outbreaks of Sexually Transmitted Diseases”, earned the Best Paper Award at the WHITE conference at the University of Maryland.
In 2011, Craigslist hosted 700 sites in 70 countries. Focusing on AIDS and syphilis cases, the study compared the rates of new STDs in 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1998 and 2005, the time span when Craigslist expanded across the country. The study examined the incidence of STDs during the months and in the states where Craigslist launched a new site.
Study findings indicated:
- Craigslist site launches allegedly resulted in 14% more new AIDS cases, tracking to 6,658 new AIDS infections in the United States each year and resulting in more than $94 million in annual treatment costs.
- Craigslist site launches allegedly resulted in 18.8% more new syphilis cases, leading to annual treatment costs of more than $0.84 million.
- The increase in STD trends caused by Craigslist’s entry into a given market is attributed to casual encounters that originated from Craigslist personal ads, not prostitution or escort service activities.
-Elise Rambaud Marrion, @emarrion_cmn