AIDS Foundation Praises Scruff On STD Stance After Controversial Billboard Ads


The AIDS foundation that chastised Tinder over its reaction to provocative billboard campaigns has commended a gay dating app for its STD stance.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation launched a billboard campaign in LA last month that controversially equated the use of apps like Tinder and Grindr to contracting STDs.

After the billboards were made public, Tinder threatened the foundation with legal action, while Grindr paused its advertising relationship.

But now the AHF has commended SCRUFF for its support of incorporating STD prevention and treatment messaging into its platform.

SCRUFF offers free geo-targeted in-app advertising for non-profit organisations to reach the LGBT community, called BenevolAds, and encouraged the AHF to sign up to the platform.

Whitney Engeran-Cordova, the Senior Director of the Public Health Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation said: “When other popular mobile dating apps were firing off legal notices or moving to shut down our STD prevention messaging in a knee-jerk reaction to our billboards, SCRUFF is to be commended for taking the more prudent approach by acknowledging the importance of encouraging STD prevention and awareness to their millions of users.”

After the billboards were put up, Tinder issued the nonprofit with a “cease and desist” letter, saying they must remove all mentions of Tinder from the billboards, saying the campaign contravened California false advertising law.

In response, the AHF said it “respectfully declined” to remove references to Tinder from its billboard campaign, calling it a “frivolous lawsuit”.

Grindr took a softer approach, telling GDI they 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.”

In a Huffington Post Live webchat, Scruff’s Chief Product Officer, Jason Marchant, said: “We at SCRUFF feel that we definitely have a social responsibility to do what we can to make our users informed not only of potential risks but also of the resources that are available to them, be it for testing, prevention, treatment or support–be it for HIV or any other STIs.”

The AHF also revealed they would be expanding the billboard campaign to other cities in the US and abroad.

Speaking about the attention the campaign has received, the AHF said: “We are pleased that conversations have begun to discuss how dating apps can be constructive partners in helping educate and connect their users to sexual health screening.

“Regular testing makes hooking up safer, and, hopefully more enjoyable. There is no shame in knowing your status. Nor should there be any trepidation or shame in asking someone their status.”

Visit the AHF’s site here.