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People publish their genitals on Reddit to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases



There are many graphic representations of genitalia in social media – but not always for the reasons you have assumed.

The high cost of healthcare and the stigma often associated with discussing sensitive issues with physicians lead to ill health Google, Reddit, and other Internet research sources for a medical diagnosis – especially those related to sexually transmitted diseases – go one new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It's a trend that has skyrocketed in 2019, according to researchers.

"Online, someone can post a picture, but it remains mostly anonymous," Dr. Eric Leas of the University of California at San Diego, who has been involved in the study, told CNBC. "This can overcome some of the embarrassment that can accompany the visit to the doctor."

Given the high rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in 201

8, physicians fear that this trend suggests that there are many patients' shame or lack of access means that many are lacking the ability to seek professional and life-saving help ", says study author Dr. Davey Smith, chief of infectious diseases and global public health at UC San Diego.

The researchers decided to focus on Reddit, a site that houses hundreds of thousands of subject-specific forums called Subreddits, some of which are health and medical. Specifically, posts in the r / STD community with more than 10,000 members, including several certified physicians, were analyzed for a period from November 2010 to February this year – for a total of 16,979 topics.

The authors of the study showed a constant number Increase the activity of the group. There were only eight posts between November and December 2010. From November to December 2018, it was almost 850.

In total, 58 percent of all posts were explicitly asked by members to think about a diagnosis, and 31 percent of them included a picture of their symptoms.

"What's wrong with my penis?" A user recently wrote on r / STD, which contains four links to images to demonstrate the symptoms. The concerned patient went on to explain a mysterious appearance of "pimples" on his genitals and also mentioned the simultaneous "flu-like symptoms". Other community discussions – for example, "white thing in foreskin" and "Everyone thinks that" looks like HPV? "- Show off the many creative explanations for unusual symptoms posed by members, including ingrown hair, overly eager masturbation and the ever-popular diagnosis of genital herpes.

Researchers Find That Many Turn to Social Media to Avoid This An embarrassing personal conversation with their doctor while others look for a sense of connectedness by interacting with strangers on the Internet, says study leader Dr. Alicia Nobles. Reddit chair doctors are also fast, with nearly 90 percent of users responding to their concerns within the first 24 hours.

"Social media was not designed to deliver health services," says Nobles. "Currently, we do not know if STDs or other health problems can be accurately diagnosed online, especially as people's needs vary in the information they provide." Misdiagnoses, warns Nobles, could "lead to greater harm to themselves or pass on an infection to others."


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