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Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. I decided to dive into Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true.

Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist?

“Our study results demonstrate that Craigslist, a minimally regulated online intermediary with no posting costs, increases the number of transactions taking place, including transactions that have undesirable social consequences,” Anindya Ghose, the study’s lead researcher, said. The University of Minnesota found that Craigslist casual encounters were responsible for a 15.9 percent surge in HIV cases from 1999-2008.

It was determined that a rise in AIDS diagnosis was more heavily influenced by a large number of “men seeking men” ads, while syphilis increases were linked to “women seeking men” and “men seeking women” specifications.

In October, layoffs claimed an estimated 40 percent of the staff, and CEO Tony Espinoza announced his departure — giving an opening to competitors like Be Welcome and Hospitality Club.

Although the company has initiated a doubling down on mobile, the experience of users like Riccardo might suggest another path to profitability. The almost decade-old Couchsurfing, which is available in 100,000 cities across the globe, is becoming the go-to hookup app for a certain class of young world travelers.

Known as the “Best Place to Find Free STDs”, Craigslist has become a popular place to peruse the most explicitly-direct sexual desires.I began with a listing announcing myself to the women of my city.Each day I tried a different approach to see what would be most effective, though I never lied or posted fake photographs.Jason Chan, assistant professor of information and decision sciences at the University of Minnesota, found that “non market-related casual sex” is the primary reason for the increase in HIV cases, in contrast to “paid transactions solicited” (escort services and prostitution), which showed a negative relationship with HIV trends.“This suggests that professional sex workers are more aware of the risks associated with casual sexual relations and practice safer sex more consistently,” the authors of the report said.