Missouri is a “minefield” for people looking for love online, according to an analysis of crime and STD statistics.
The state was recently identified as the most dangerous in the country for online dating by Backgroundchecks.org, which considered three factors to arrive at the conclusion: violent crime rates, infection rates for common STDs and identity theft rates.
“There’s always an element of danger in meeting a stranger from the internet — particularly for women,” the site wrote.
The site added that a relatively high risk of identity theft in Missouri contributed to its most dangerous rank.
Florida was the second most dangerous state for online dating, according to the site. The two safest states are Vermont and Maine.
Earlier this year, St. Louis was again named the STD capital of the U.S., with the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea. The city has held the distinction for more than a decade, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that new chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases reached a record high in 2016 in the U.S.
Studies have found a correlation between meeting people online and becoming infected. An analysis appearing in BMJ Journals found men who met partners online more commonly tested positive for HIV and other STDs, but no such correlation was found in women.
However, some argue dating apps should not shoulder all the blame, as their rise correlated with an increase in awareness and testing for STDs and better detection tools for discovering infections, according to Vice.
Fifteen percent of American adults reported using online dating sites or mobile apps, the Pew Research Center reported. Among people ages 18 to 24, their popularity has increased threefold since 2013.
Backgroundchecks.org called for caution when online dating — such as meeting in public places and having protected sex.
“Being informed about hazards and their probability helps users to use Tinder and other apps cautiously and wisely,” the site wrote.