Study: 10 Percent Of Grindr Users Have Never Had HIV Test Though A Third Still Claim To Be Negative
New York's Hunter College Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) released a study today detailing the HIV-testing habits of men who use Grindr.
Based on a sample size of 1,300 Grindr users in the NYC area, CHEST has found that one in ten men using the service have never had an HIV Test. This "HIV test virgin" rate is significantly higher than the general MSM (men who have sex with men) population in New York City, which rests at 2.6 percent. Perhaps more worrisome was CHEST's data revealing that of these men, one third still list "HIV Negative" in their public profile.
Dr. Parsons worked with a team of researchers, including senior data analyst Jon Rendina to survey over 1,300 gay and bisexual men in the New York City area who use Grindr. Rendina explains, “When we first began looking at the data, we were surprised to find that 1 in 10 men on Grindr in NYC had never received an HIV test and we quickly realized we needed to look further into the issue.” Further analysis showed that the proportion of older men getting tested for HIV was notably higher than that of the younger men, with 1 in 5 young MSM between the ages of 18-24 having never received an HIV test. Comparing these men to the overall population of NYC MSM indicated that a higher proportion of men onGrindr had never been tested for the disease (10% of Grindr users versus 2.6% of all NYC MSM).
Additional analyses revealed that one-third of those men who had never received an HIV test reported their HIV status as HIV-negative, which as Rendina points out, “may mean that men are sharing potentially inaccurate HIV status information with their partners on Grindr.” Additionally, nearly one-third of the men who had never tested also reported engaging in anal sex without a condom in the past 3 months.
It's not all bad news, however. "Out of all of the men surveyed on Grindr, half of them had received an HIV test in the past 6 months, and over 70% of them had been tested in the past year; whereas only 52% of all MSM in the NYC area reported receiving an HIV-test in the past year," the study continues. "Furthermore, the data suggested that men who engage in risky sexual behavior had been tested more recently than men who hadn’t, suggesting awareness among these men of an increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, the survey found that the proportion of younger men of color who had received HIV tests was higher than other men in this sample."
It seems the messaging is getting through to a large portion of Grindr users, but what can be done about that troubling ten percent?
“It’s our hope that these data highlight the importance of embedding HIV testing and other prevention campaigns where men who have sex with men network, socialize, and express their sexuality, such as Grindr," says Jon Rendina, a senior data analyst and co-author of the study.
Are you surprised by the study's results?