“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 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 analyzed a random sample of 500 posts.
Fifty-eight percent of these messages explicitly requested a crowd-diagnosis, while 31 percent 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 percent 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,” John Ayers, an epidemiologist at UC San Diego and co-author of the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, told AFP.
“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.
Trump official removed after illegally serving 424 days as head of the Bureau of Land Management: report
Yet another Donald Trump official has found himself in trouble with the law for running a federal agency without Senate confirmation.
"federal judge ruled Friday that the Trump administration's leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and has blocked him from continuing in the position. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley served unlawfully for 424 days without being confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate," the Associated Press reported Friday.
Dennis Quaid to star in Trump’s $300 million ad campaign against COVID ‘despair’: report
Americans should expect to see more of actor Dennis Quaid during television commercial breaks, according to a new report by Politico.
"The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to 'defeat despair' about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds," Politico's Dan Diamond reported Friday.
Lincoln Project likens Lindsey Graham to an abused dog for being ‘violently out-fundraised’ in South Carolina re-election campaign
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is facing a huge fundraising shortage -- despite being an incumbent Republican senator running in South Carolina.
As he's been trailing Democrat Jaime Harrison in fundraising, Graham has repeatedly gone on Fox News to beg for donations.
“My opponent will raise almost $100 million in the state of South Carolina,” Graham complained to Fox and Friends on Thursday.