“I think I might have an STD. Help”
CNBC – More people are turning to “Dr. Google,” Reddit and other forms of social media for medical advice, increasingly seeking help and posting photos online of various ailments — including pictures of sexually transmitted diseases, according to new research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Crowd-diagnosis, when people seek out medical diagnoses through social media, has increased dramatically in the past year, researchers said, and it appears to be replacing visits to physicians to receive proper care.
“Online someone can post a picture yet remain mostly anonymous,” said Dr. Eric Leas, a professor at the University of California, San Diego involved with the research. “This can overcome some of the embarrassment that might come with going to ask a doctor.”
STDs are at an all-time high and visits to clinics have risen, said Dr. Davey Smith, a study co-author and chief of infectious diseases and global public health at UC San Diego.
“But statistically we should be seeing more. Shame or a lack of access means many are missing an opportunity to get professional, life-saving help,” he said in the report.
While many patients often turn to Dr. Google for health advice, researchers found that people are increasingly going to social media for help because “people also want a sense of connection,” said Dr. Alicia Nobles, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego.
Researchers combed through a subsection of social media giant Reddit, called r/STD, that’s dedicated to sexually transmitted diseases and has more than 10,000 members. After looking at posts from November 2010 through February 2019, they saw a significant spike in the section’s posts … Read more.