Reddit describes itself as the internet’s front page, offering groups to discuss just about everything under the sun – including, it would seem, sexual health problems.

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Dedicated STD forum on Reddit

In fact, rather than turning to doctors for advice, Reddit users are turning to specialist groups within the site for advice about STIs. Many of them are even attaching graphic photographs of their genitals in the hope that someone else in the community can provide them with reassurance.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, researchers from the University of California San Diego have been studying over eight years’ worth of posts on the Reddit STD forum. Much to their surprise, this method of peer-to-peer questioning is actually on the rise, with hundreds more people visiting the forums in search of advice.

As they studied around 17,000 posts made since 2010 on the Reddit STD message boards, the researchers discovered that well over half of them were requests for a diagnosis. Around 30% of these requests included a photograph, which users seem more than happy to share with thousands of online visitors.

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The importance of a speedy diagnosis

People turn to the internet for help for a number of reasons. They may feel embarrassed to visit a doctor or other health professional, for example, or they may feel deterred by lengthy waiting times or fear the judgement or disapproval of sexual health workers.

However, health professionals don’t judge, and there’s nothing they haven’t seen before so there’s no need for embarrassment. Nowadays, home STI kits London and nationwide mean you don’t even have to submit to potentially embarrassing checks if this is an area of concern. And home STI kits London make sure you find out whether or not you have an STI very quickly and easily, so those affected can get the proper treatment as soon as possible.

The longer an STI goes untreated, the greater the chance that it will have increased adverse effects. Of course, there’s more potential for infecting other people, too, so early diagnosis is essential.

Asking complete strangers for help and advice won’t necessarily lead to a correct diagnosis, even from health professionals. Appropriate tests must always be carried out to prevent the spread of STIs that can cause a lot of long-term damage.