They say it's better to give than receive, especially during the holidays, but in this case, neither is a very desirable outcome.

When it comes to dating, it's no secret it's a jungle out there. More and more singles are resorting to meeting each other through dating apps, and according to KCRG, there's an increase locally and nationwide in those encounters ending with more than dinner, a movie, and a little cuddling.

Officials with the Linn County Department of Public Health say cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are on the rise. They also say that despite the wide array of technology available, it's becoming more difficult to contact those on both the giving and receiving end.

"Contact tracing" isn't new to the COVID era, as health officials have used it for years to reduce the spread of STIs. But dating apps and social media are tools they haven't used as much, until now. The health department offers testing on-site as well as free home test kits that can be ordered online or picked up at area pharmacies. If someone tests positive, they work to find the contacts of that person through old-fashioned phone calls, e-mails, or if all else fails, tracking them down on social media or a dating site.

Heather Meador is the Clinical Branch Supervisor at Linn County Public Health and told KCRG:

What we’re seeing are more and more people on dating apps and meeting each other and having sexual contact, and that’s increasing some of our numbers

It may seem intrusive, but Meador says their goal is to always encourage people who may have had sexual contact with someone who's contracted an STI, to make sure they get tested themselves. “Let them know that hey your name came up during an investigation and we’d really like you to come in and get a free test, let us see if we can help you and if you have something we will take care of it".

So, as the holiday season proceeds, you should take every opportunity to love and be loved. But if you've blissfully enjoyed a little love from an intriguing someone who "slid into your DMs", you both might want to slide into the local health department office, just to be safe.

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