UCSD Assistant Professor Talks Grindr and Sexual Health

Martin Hoenigl, MD, Assistant Professor at The University of California San Diego, has spoken to MedicalResearch.com about a recent study he conducted into gay dating app users.

The academic investigated the sexual habits of men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) in San Diego, focusing specifically on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a preventative measure taken to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

Previous research has found that men using Grindr are more likely than the general MSM population to engage in risky sexual behaviours. 

Hoenigl’s study corroborated those findings to an extent, revealing that Grindr users “reported significantly higher risk behavior (greater number of male partners and condomless sex) and were more likely to test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea”.

Singles on the app were more likely to take PrEP (18.7% vs. 8.7% of non-users), however, and were less likely to have been recently diagnosed with HIV. This may indicate that the user population is taking HIV prevention particularly seriously. 

The author added a caveat: “One of the limitations of our study was that we did not collect data on the usage of other geospatial networking app platforms (such as Scruff, Hornet, etc.) which may be used by some of the participants and biased the results of comparisons between Grindr users and non-users toward the null. 

“Nevertheless, with Grindr being the most popular app, it is likely that users of these other apps were also Grindr users.”

Wider research has found that a high proportion of gay relationships begin online. GBTQ population density and social stigma are often proposed as reasons for the pattern. 

Read more here.