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A Comparison of Internet Search Trends and Sexually Transmitted Infection Rates Using Google Trends

Johnson, Amy K. MSW; Mehta, Supriya D. MHS, PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: January 2014 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 61–63
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000065

Google Trends was used to determine the relationship between sexually transmitted infection (STI)–related search engine trends and STI rates. Trends seem to be similar to the relative rates of STIs and to regional differences in rates. Search engine trends are an innovative tool to integrate into STI surveillance.

This exploratory study sought to determine whether or not sexually transmitted infection (STI)– related search terms on “Google Trends” would be related to trends in STI rates of nationally notifiable STIs.

From the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL

Conflict of interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Amy K. Johnson, MSW, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W. Taylor St, Room 966, Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail:

Received for publication August 13, 2013, and accepted October 21, 2013.

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