Clark County data you didn’t know you needed: STDs and dating apps

Lots of people turn to the internet to find love. Turns out, lots of people also find STDs.

When Clark County residents are diagnosed with certain sexually transmitted diseases, the folks at Clark County Public Health are alerted. The health department staff then gets to work investigating each case, asking the diagnosed person demographic information and questions about their sexual partners and habits.

The county department took that information and put together a report about all things STDs in Clark County.

And it is a gem.

Thanks to this report, which was published in December, we know that about 12 percent of people who contracted an STD in 2016 met their partner on the internet. And of those, the website of choice was Grindr, followed by Craigslist and Facebook. Those were the top websites in 2015, too.

But the internet isn’t the only place people found partners (and sexually transmitted diseases).

Most people (256 people or 42 percent) met their sexual partner at a friend or family member’s house or at a private party. And 17 percent had been with their partner for more than one year. Bars were next most popular, at nearly 9 percent.

Some of the less popular meeting locations in 2016 include raves (three people), work (12 people), bathhouses (six people), adult bookstores (two people), adult movie theater (1 person) and the mall (four people).

Another 58 people (5 percent) responded “other.” But the good folks at Clark County Public Health weren’t content with the vague answer. They drilled down and found out exactly where those “other” meetings occurred.

One met their sexual partner at a Chevron station. Another, at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas. One said their sexual partner was an escort, and one met theirs at the OMEN gay nudist club.

One person answered “Portland strip club.” Another said a book reading. And two more said treatment centers.

But the least surprising statistic from the report? Nearly 97 percent of people who contracted gonorrhea or syphilis in 2016 admitted they didn’t use a condom.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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