Opinion: We need to talk about how Grindr is affecting gay men’s mental health

I’m a gay psychiatrist. Here’s why I went on Grindr to survey men.

When I open the Grindr app on my smartphone, I see there’s a 26-year-old man with tanned abs just 200 feet away. He’s called “looking4now,” and his profile explains that he wants sex at his place as soon as possible.

Scrolling down, I find 100 similar profiles within a one-mile radius of my apartment in Boston. I can filter them by body type, sexual position (top, bottom, or versatile), and HIV status.

As a gay psychiatrist who studies gender and sexuality, I’m thrilled with the huge strides we’ve made over the past decade to bring gay relationships into the mainstream. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Today in Boston, two men can walk down the street holding hands without consequence.

But I’m worried by the rise of the underground digital bathhouse. Apps like Grindr, with 3 million daily active users, and others like Scruff and Jack’d, are designed to help gay men solicit sex, often anonymously, online. I am all for sexual liberation, but I can’t stop wondering if these apps also have a negative effect on gay men’s mental health.

Since there’s little published research on the men using Grindr, I decided to conduct an informal survey and ask men why they’re on the app so much and how it’s affecting their relationships and mental health. I created a profile identifying myself as a medical writer looking to talk to men about their experiences. I received about 50 responses (including propositions).

It’s a small sample size, but enough to give us some clues about how Grindr is affecting gay men. And it doesn’t look good.

Read the full article on Vox.

Free AIDSINFO drug app: HIV-Related drug information for health care providers and consumers

Healthcare providers and consumers need HIV-related drug information and, increasingly, they depend on mobile devices to access that information. AIDSinfo is meeting both needs with the release of the AIDSinfo Drug App. Using data from theAIDSinfo Drug Database, the drug app provides information on more than 100 HIV-related Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved and investigational drugs. The AIDSinfo Drug App—provided free from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health—is available for iOS and Android devices.

The information on the AIDSinfo Drug App, offered in English and Spanish, is tailored to meet the needs of both healthcare providers and consumers. The app works offline, ensuring that healthcare providers and consumers can access vital drug information anywhere—even in healthcare facilities that may not have an Internet connection.

The AIDSinfo Drug App pulls FDA labels from Daily Med for approved HIV-related drugs. The app also integrates information on drug nomenclature and chemical structure from ChemIDplus. Information from the labels is condensed in easy-to-understand summaries in English and Spanish for consumers.

Users can also access information on HIV-related drugs under investigation via the AIDSinfo Drug App. The investigational drug summaries, which are developed from the latest clinical trial results, are tailored by audience: technical, more detailed summaries for healthcare providers and less complex summaries in English and Spanish for consumers.

Users can also personalize the AIDSinfo Drug App. According to their needs, users can set pill reminders, bookmark drugs, or add personal notes:

  • Set pill reminders: Medication adherence is crucial to successful HIV treatment, and the app’s medication reminder can help those taking HIV medicines stay on schedule. Choosing from a menu of alarms, app users can set pill reminders for any time of the day and any day of the week.
  • Bookmark drugs: Busy users can bookmark frequently referenced drugs. No more searching for the same drugs again and again.
  • Add notes: App users can also customize drugs with personal notes. For example, patients can add notes during medical visits; healthcare providers can add relevant information useful at the point of care.

Stay tuned as AIDSinfo updates the app with additional features. Visit AIDSinfo to download the drug app to your iOS or Android device. And keep us posted on your experience with the app. We welcome your questions and comments at ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.