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Will dating apps start revealing your HIV status?
Mixed reactions as one dating app considers including STD-related information
The gay dating app Grindr is entertaining the idea of having users include their HIV statuses in their profiles. Time will tell if similar features trickle down to Tinder or other apps.
Here are a few things to know:
1. The measure is being criticized
According to this article in CNN:
This summer, the gay social networking app Grindr caught some criticism for asking in a user survey “What is your current HIV status?” and “How would you feel if Grindr allowed you to filter the guys you see by HIV status?”
In a statement, a Grindr representative said the survey is an effort to better understand its users and to encourage discussions.
“We have observed a significant increase in user profiles openly discussing their HIV status and test dates. Given that this has not been a part of our profile options to date, we are surveying users to determine both their desire to share this information, and ways to prevent stigma and provide proper support,” the statement said. “Sometimes this involves asking uncomfortable questions.”
2. It might exacerbate the social stigma of HIV
According to this article in Pink News:
Daniel Reeders, who writes for the blog, Bad Blood, said that the idea shouldn’t be rolled out to users.
He said: “Would the HIV filter [make positive members] invisible to others whose HIV status didn’t match their preferences … like an automatic block function?
“If it did, and enough HIV-negative people used it, it really would constitute a form of digital quarantine that leaves people with HIV outcast and invisible.
“We should not be reinforcing categories that are used in less effective strategies for prevention.”
3. The risk of HIV transmission has gone down
According to this article in The Age:
Denton Callander, a researcher with the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, said: “The irony is that we live in a time when HIV transmission is less likely than ever before.”
Given this, Dr Callander said he was worried about the potential for such a filter to reinforce stigma against people who have been historically marginalised. There are about 27,000 people living with HIV in Australia.
HIV researcher Daniel Reeders? of Australian National University, is also concerned about stigma and the potential for a “digital quarantine” of people living with HIV using the app.