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Spring Breakers Turn to Web for STD Info

March 15, 2012

March kicks off the spring break season, and trend analysts at Yahoo! report they are already seeing a spike in STD-related online searches.

Carolyn Clark is part of the Yahoo! team that combs the site's search logs for noteworthy trends. She said there is an established pattern of spring break-related searches increasing early in the month, followed by STD-related ones a week or two later.

Though the search engine's logs are anonymous, they do reveal information such as a user's general location, gender, and age. Data show 55 percent of queries for "STD symptoms" come from men, and 25 percent of those conducting searches on the topic are ages 18-24. This month, the top-searched STDs on Yahoo! in order are: herpes, HIV/AIDS, human papillomavirus, genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis. Texas and Virginia are the states from which the most STD searches have originated.

The uptick in STD queries reflects a change in how people access health information, said Clark. "I think people get home, and STDs are still a taboo topic, but the spring-break generation is very familiar with the web," she noted. "They're not calling Mom, they're getting online and trying to find the answers themselves."

Back to other news for March 2012

Excerpted from:
Houston Chronicle
03.09.2012; Pete Holley




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