NEW YORK — Health officials have had success reaching gay black and Hispanic men on Grindr and getting them to try HIV self-testing kits, the New York Times reports, citing a study published in the journal Sexual Health.
The small study was confined to Los Angeles and fewer than 400 test kits were distributed, but the idea has broader potential. Grindr is used by about five million men in 192 countries, according to its developer.
In the United States, young gay black and Hispanic men are the groups most likely to be infected with HIV and the least likely to be tested for it, because they often lack health insurance and fear being rejected by their families. In some other countries, gay men may be harassed, jailed or even executed.
The study used banner ads on Grindr to offer free test kits. Recipients received a kit in the mail, a voucher that could be redeemed for a kit at a pharmacy, or a code that would produce a kit from a vending machine in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. The test requires no blood; a swab of the gums produces results in 20 minutes, the Times article said.