…Men who have sex with men and trans women are two of the most at-risk groups for contracting HIV. This is due to a complex range of factors including historic under-service by public health campaigns, a general lack of targeted sexual health advice for young LGBTs and criminalization of LGBT identity and HIV-positive individuals, among others.
This study, if its findings can be replicated by future research, could represent a relatively low cost way to improve HIV testing and prevention. Some dating apps, like Grindr and Hornet, have actually already begun offering HIV testing information through their platform.
Even the federal government saw the worth in examining sexual behaviors related to dating apps and commissioned a sizable study on the topic.
While some conservative groups have said the $432,000 grant money is a waste, this latest research suggests that teaming dating apps with proper HIV testing and information services can lead to meaningful increases in awareness. Understanding interactions on these apps — and through social media in general — can hopefully lead to even more effective interventions.
It’s estimated that about 156,300 people in the U.S. are unaware that they live with HIV. These individuals remain a transmission risk with the potential to unknowingly infect their sexual partners.
Encouraging testing with targeted, relatively low-cost interventions could be one way of decreasing that number.