News article

Date: 15. May 2017

Gay Dating App Grindr: Users Asked about HIV Status
Dating service has been criticised for the action

It may not be common to ask someone about their HIV status before a date, or how infectious that person might be. Gay dating app Grindr and its programmers, however, are now aiming to include the HIV status of users so that singles are able to search in accordance with risk of disease and sexual practices.

During a recent survey, Grindr inquired of its users regarding their HIV status. This included whether their illness was “undetectable” in the blood due to their treatment, and whether they’d like to be able to find other users who also have it. Another question that the survey outlined was whether people taking the preventative drugs known as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).

A Way to Avoid Rejection

Some singles may view this as a good filter to avoid being rejected when meeting someone. However, others who live with HIV and researchers into the stigma of it believe that this will end up exacerbating the discrimination that sufferers face. This move is also quite interesting for gay men having casual sex in Australia. Studies have revealed that men with the virus and who are undergoing treatment have what is known as an “undetectable” load and therefore a very low risk of passing it on.

There are also thousands of men who have sex with men taking this drug in order to protect themselves. By taking this medication at the same time every day, about 93% protection is possible. Denton Callander who researchers with the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, stated: "The irony is that we live in a time when HIV transmission is less likely than ever before."

Dr Callander is worried that this particular filter will end up enforcing the stigma that had marginalised people in the past. At present, there are over 27,000 people Australia who are living with the illness. Another researcher, Daniel Reeders of Australian National University, is concerned that some sort of “digital quarantine” will arise on the app.

Source: Bega District News