Last week, a set of controversial billboards were put up in LA that connected the use of apps like Tinder and Grindr to contracting STDs.
The campaign was by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), was designed to raise awareness about the growing rates of STDs.
However days after the billboards went up, the two named dating apps hit back at the nonprofit that produced them.
Tinder sent the AHF a cease and desist letter, saying they were “falsely associating Tinder with the contraction of venereal diseases”, and asked for the nonprofit to remove all mentions of Tinder from the billboards.
It was also reported that Grindr cut off AHF’s paid advertising for its free STD testing services.
Since then, Grindr has elaborated on its feelings towards the campaign, and the billboard.
Speaking to GDI, the LA-based company said: “We were surprised at the approach the AHF took, and paused the campaign in order to speak with them and assess our relationship.
“In the end, we’re all on the same page regarding this issue, as health and wellness concerns us all.”
The hookup app, which is reportedly looking for a buyer, pointed to its long-standing support of such campaigns surrounding men’s health.
The company said: “Grindr conducts educational campaigns on disease prevention and testing, support health advocacy organizations, and run in-app PSAs regularly encouraging testing and supporting health causes.
“Globally, Grindr conducts research with users on issues as broad as access to proper healthcare and issues of mental health facing the gay community, and share the information with local advocacy groups to help their outreach.”
The brand recently partnered with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention on national studies about PrEP usage and attitudes, which you can read about here.
Regarding Tinder’s legal action, the AHF said it would not bow down to Tinder’s threats.
Laura Boudreau, Chief Counsel for Operations for AHF said: “Rather than trying to chill AHF’s public health message by threatening AHF with frivolous lawsuits, AHF urges Tinder to support its message of sexual health awareness by encouraging Tinder users to get tested for STIs and to get treated promptly if they have an infection.
“In short, AHF urges Tinder to rethink its attack on AHF’s message and re-direct its energy toward supporting the health of the consuming public who have made Tinder the success that it is.”
The AHF is the largest global AIDS organisation, and currently provides medical care and services to over 470,000 people in 36 countries worldwide.
Read more about the story here.