The US government gave almost half a million dollars to fund a study on the use of gay hookup apps like Grindr.
The National Institutes of Health gave a $432,000 grant to Colombia University to study whether hookup apps have “accelerated” sexual encounters amongst men seeking men.
The project information states: “Smartphone technologies have provided a new venue for sexual partnering among men who have sex with men (MSM).
“Although all smartphones can access Internet sites for sexual partnering, smartphone applications designed for sexual partnering go a step further by utilizing the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology built into smartphones to help MSM identify potential partners who are geographically closest to their current position.”
For the study, 60 men seeking men – 20 African American, 20 Latino, 20 White; 25% of whom are HIV-positive – who used mobile apps to meet sexual partners over 3 months were interviewed.
“Given the expediency with which men are able to arrange sexual encounters using these applications, there is cause to question if, when, and how sexual negotiation and serostatus disclosure occurs,” the study said.
“The overall study goal is to understand how sexual risk behaviors among MSM may be facilitated by the nature of GPS-enabled smartphone applications, the way they are used, and the process by which sexual partnering occurs via smartphone applications.”
The funding was awarded in two lots of instalments, $240,000 in 2012, and $192,000 in 2013, the total funding expiring last December.
The lead for the study is Colombia professor Karolynn Siegel, who is currently analysing the data.