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People are posting on Reddit to get a diagnosis of their STD

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More than half of the posts on a Reddit thread on STDs were from people requesting a diagnosis, according to US research. The study looked at posts on an STD subReddit going back to 2010 and found that in a random sample of posts, 58 per cent were requesting a crowd-diagnosis, with around a third of those including a picture for good measure. Most posts received a reply within hours and around 1 in 5 of the posts looking for a diagnosis were wanting a second opinion. The study did not look at how accurate the crowd diagnosis was but the researchers suggest doctors could partner with social media platforms to reduce the potential harms of people commenting without medical training.

Journal/conference: JAMA

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jama.2019.14390

Organisation/s: University of California, USA

Funder: Dr Dredze reported receipt of personal fees from Bloomberg LP and Good Analytics. Dr Smith reported receipt of grants from the National Institutes of Health. No other disclosures were reported.

Media release

STD Crowd-Diagnosis Requests on Social Media

What The Study Did: Online postings seeking information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the social media website Reddit were analyzed to see how often requests were made for a crowd-diagnosis and whether the requested diagnosis was for a second opinion after seeing a health care professional.


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