The leading gay dating apps have committed to help in the fight against HIV, it was announced today.
Representatives of the top gay websites and apps met with public health leaders at a summit in September, to discuss how they can help to promote HIV testing, and reduce stigma around infection.
Today, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, in collaboration with The Foundation for AIDS Research, released a report detailing recommendations and next steps for these dating apps.
The steps that will be taken are:
To promote HIV and STI testing. Site and app owners will identify innovative ways to encourage users to regularly get tested for HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.
Reduce stigma associated with HIV infection. Users commonly disclose their HIV-negative status or preference for HIV-negative partners in ways that perpetuate stigma and shame. In order to support healthy environments for all users, sites can proactively encourage users to select among optional, stigma-free profile options to communicate HIV status such as “positive,” “undetectable,” or “negative as of” with a date of the users last HIV test, or partner preferences such as “HIV-neutral,” or “Poz-friendly.”
Collaborate with public health leaders to disseminate updated information. Owners can share information with users about disease outbreaks and new HIV prevention tools, such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis, which are medications that can be taken regularly to prevent HIV infection), as well as new testing technologies.
Tim Patriarca, the executive director of gay and bi men’s health and wellness at San Francisco AIDS Foundation said: “The owners of these sites said it loud and clear: They are committed to promoting community health and contributing to the end of HIV transmission.”
Representatives from BarebackRT, Daddyhunt, Dudesnude, Gay.com, Grindr, PozPersonals, and SCRUFF all attended the meeting on September 3-4.
Bigmuscle along with two other sites could not attend the meeting, but are committed to helping.
Public health organisations represented at the summit included AIDS United, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Alliance for State and Territorial AIDS Directors, National Coalition for STD Directors, and Project Inform.
Sidney Stokes, who leads the social action division for Grindr, said: “Supporting our users’ health is the right thing to do. We’ve wanted to help for many years, but weren’t sure how best to do it. It’s great to be working together on this effort.”
1.1m Americans live with HIV, and an estimated 50,000 are infected every year.
Although men who have sex with men make up only 2% of the US population, in 2010 they accounted for 63% of all those with HIV.
Read the full report here.