A new study has found that people are now going to social media to diagnose STDs. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 3 of every 5 posts on Reddit’s STD forum is seeking a “crowd diagnosis” of a suspected infection. The posts are usually accompanied with a photo of the affected genitalia. In addition, 20% of people requesting a crowd diagnosis specifically on Reddit sought a second opinion after receiving a diagnosis by a healthcare professional. Senior researcher John Ayers and his team found the data by gathering posts on Reddit’s STD forum, from its start in 2010 through February 2019.
The monthly number of posts have been steadily increasing over the years, with 908 appearing in January and February 2019. The researchers drew a random sample of 500 posts to see how many were seeking crowd diagnoses. They found that 58% of posts requested a crowd diagnosis. Nearly one-third of those requests included a photo of the person’s physical symptoms. Nearly 9 out of 10 requests for a crowd diagnosis received a reply, and many received multiple replies.