Researchers from UCLA have found that Grindr is an effective way to promote HIV testing kits to gay men.
A study by University of California researchers found that ads placed on the dating app were a useful way to reach “untested high-risk populations” and help reduce the spread of HIV.
The researchers advertised free HIV self-test kits on Grindr for one month, specifically targeting men in LA who used the app.
The ads linked to a site where users could choose to receive a test through the mail, by way of a voucher redeemable at a local pharmacy, or with a code used at a vending machine.
In addition to this, black or latino men who had sex with men and were at least 18 years old were invited to take a survey two weeks after they received the test.
And after posting the ads for a month, the UCLA researchers found that the site received 4,389 unique hits, with 333 men requesting the HIV test.
Of these Grindr users, 74% asked for the test by mail, 17% used the voucher and 8% got the vending machine code.
Speaking about the results of the test, taken by 125 self-testers, the researchers said: “74% reported having had at least one episode of anal intercourse without a condom in the prior three months, 29% had last been tested for HIV more than one year ago and 9% had never been tested.
“Among the 56 participants who reported their HIV test status, two (4%) were newly positive.”
The study’s authors were Emily Huang, Joseph Daniels, Sean Young, Robert Marlin and Jeffrey Klausner from UCLA, along with A. Lina Rosengren of Indiana University.
And researcher Dr. Klausner said the study showed that such sexual health campaigns on dating apps like Grindr were “ripe for expansion” into new cities, after the success the team had seen in just a month running the campaign in LA.
The study was published in the Sexual Health journal.