Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Help! Net users take to Reddit for STD diagnosis




Help! Net users take to Reddit for STD diagnosis

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Reddit CEO Alexis Ohanian attends the WORLDZ Cultural Marketing Summit 2017. People are increasingly turning to strangers on the social network to diagnose their sexually transmitted diseases. AFP

Help! Net users take to Reddit for STD diagnosis

“How did I get chlamydia?” “Is this herpes?”

People are increasingly turning to strangers on social network Reddit to diagnose their sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new study published in a US journal on Tuesday that called the phenomenon “crowd-diagnosis.”

Researchers from the University of California San Diego examined 17,000 posts on a Reddit thread devoted to STDs. They then analysed a random sample of 500 posts.

Fifty-eight per cent of these messages explicitly requested a crowd-diagnosis, while 31 per cent included a picture of the symptoms.

One in five such requests come from users trying to get a second opinion, after having consulted a doctor. These included the case of a person who tested positive for HIV, but wanted to know what other Reddit users thought.

Eight-seven per cent of the time, such requests received a reply, and fast – the median time for a first response was three hours, with some receiving a reply in less than a minute.

“Everybody talks about Dr Google all the time,” said John Ayers, an epidemiologist at UC San Diego and co-author of the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“But the reality is searching for information online is not how people use the internet anymore. They want to get real interactions with real people.”

But the problem, Ayers added, was that “crowd-diagnosis, as it exists now, is wildly inaccurate and dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t turn millions of people seeking diagnosis on social media into something good.”

He and his colleagues envisioned a future in which health care professionals were available on social networks – not necessarily to make a diagnosis based on insufficient information, but to make a first screening and refer users to where they could get help – either at a clinic or via a teleconference consultation.

“The reality is that in the longer term, the bigger picture is crowd diagnosis could be a boon to public health information,” Ayers said, taking the example of a subreddit devoted to suicidal thoughts.

“Trained experts are curating that Reddit, and they provide them referrals,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with