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‘Help! What is this?’ Net users take to Reddit for STD diagnosis

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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

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WATCH LIVE: Trump holds mask-option Mount Rushmore rally and fireworks celebration

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President Donald Trump left the White House during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday to attend an Independence Day event in South Dakota.

Trump was told not to attend but did so anyway.

“Trump coming here is a safety concern not just for my people inside and outside the reservation, but for people in the Great Plains. We have such limited resources in Black Hills, and we’re already seeing infections rising,” the Oglala Sioux president, Julian Bear Runner, told the Guardian. “It’s going to cause an uproar if he comes here. People are going to want to exercise their first amendment rights to protest and we do not want to see anyone get hurt or the lands be destroyed."

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2020 Election

Trump Jr’s girlfriend tests positive for COVID-19 in South Dakota ahead of the president’s event: report

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Yet another senior Donald Trump advisor has tested positive for COVID-19.

"Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of President Trump’s eldest son and a top fund-raising official for the Trump re-election campaign, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday before a Fourth of July event at Mount Rushmore, a person familiar with her condition said," The New York Times reported shortly before Trump's speech began.

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Trump supporters shouted ‘go home’ at Native Americans protesting Mount Rushmore rally on their land: report

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Oglala Sioux protesters were arrested protesting against President Donald Trump's Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore on Friday.

The protesters argued that it is their land after the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate.

The Black Hills of South Dakota, where Mount Rushmore is located, was among the lands the tribes received to bring about an end to Red Cloud's War, which is also known as the Bozeman Trail War.

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