VCSTAR - Feb 27 - Provisional data shows 70 new local cases of HIV were diagnosed in 2017, public health officials said at a meeting of an HIV/AIDS Coalition of Ventura County, Calif. In 2016, there were 35. A year before that, there were 32. The surge has continued into February, said Lynn Bartosh, AIDS surveillance coordinator for the Ventura County Public Health Department. "The number of new cases has heightened," she said. "Most of them talk about Grindr." There are other dating apps, too. Use of hookup dating apps that turns into unprotected sex is not the only reason for the HIV surge but is part of it, said Sal Fuentes, coalition chairman and HIV/AIDS prevention advocate. A 2016 study from UCLA researchers suggested Grindr can be used as a platform for getting tested. Researchers advertised free HIV self-test kits on the site to LA men on the app for a month. ~300 men requested the test.