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Jul18

The gay dating (sex) app Grindr is surveying some users about offering a filter to help stigmatize and serosort HIV positive identifying users. Wha?

Monday, 18 July 2016 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Social Media, Activism, Gay Men, International , Living with HIV, Media, Opinion Pieces, Sex and Sexuality , Revolving Door, Guest Authors

"Should Grindr allow users to filter out those that admit to living with HIV?" asks Josh Robbins

The gay dating (sex) app Grindr is surveying some users about offering a filter to help stigmatize and serosort HIV positive identifying users. Wha?

This article previously appeared on Josh's own blog, I'm Still Josh, here.

This morning after I woke up and finished reading through my morning newsfeed on Facebook and read the “what you missed” best Tweets, I tapped the orange and white skull icon on my phone. It was time to read my missed messages on Grindr from overnight.

As soon as the (miracle) screen loaded, Grindr asked me to complete a survey. I hate surveys but I tapped ‘ok.’

The questions that were asked all primarily revolved around HIV, and you all already know that I was all in. But unfortunately, they raise serious questions to me about Grindr’s intention to regulate an atmosphere of disclosure of HIV punishment, and Grindr’s potential interest in perpetuating the false idea that if someone says that they are negative–than it must be true.

As we know according to the CDC, one in eight of those living with HIV is not aware of being infected. Thus they aren’t on medication and aren’t reaching an undetectable level of the virus in their body – and are by definition infectious and potentially exposing others.

I have been one of the few writing and publishing articles about HIV that have been less critical of gay dating (sex) apps. I’ve been published on the ways the dating apps are actually helping us talk about HIV. And I covered the funny story of a large HIV nonprofit targeting these apps in a campaign, but I am concerned about the possible direction of creating an environment on Grindr, by Grindr, of not encouraging disclosure and creating a false sense of HIV prevention by filtering out those that honestly admit to living with HIV.

What do you think?

Should Grindr allow users to filter out those that admit to living with HIV? Or should Grindr allow users to determine how to discuss that topic?

And what if someone lies. Some people catfish and send pictures that aren’t theirs, so what if someone wasn’t honest in their profile because they were not interested in the public knowing their status?

And finally, would not answering the question, lying about HIV status, or otherwise be a new tool for the legal system to target and criminalize HIV?

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