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The Net is being blamed for a potential rise in the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to the The Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an article entitled Tracing a Syphilis Outbreak Through Cyberspace the report's authors detail how a recent outbreak of syphilis was linked to the amorous goings-on in a San Francisco chat room.

According to the medical experts, the anonymous nature of the Net made it difficult to track down those people who'd met online (as opposed to a bar, club or at work) before disappearing for a bit of slap 'n tickle.

On the other hand, the Net is a fast and effective way to let other sexually active people know that someone with the pox was on the loose and that people should take more care.

The report said: "This outbreak indicates that the Internet is a technology that may facilitate transmission of syphilis but may also provide targeted awareness and enhance control of STDs."

Which is all very well, but it's a bit of a mouthful. ®

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Tracing a Syphilis Outbreak Through Cyberspace

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