Background Our study aimed to determine if Grindr™ is an effective means of reaching high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM) for HIV testing. In Los Angeles (LA), Black and Latino MSM have the highest rate of HIV infection, and Black MSM in LA are four-fold more likely than white MSM to not know they are infected with HIV. Those MSM are also major users of social networking apps. Grindr™ was used to provide access to free HIV self-testing. Methods: Free HIV self-test kits were advertised on Grindr™ from 13 October to 11 November 2014, consisting of 300000 banner ads and three broadcast messages targeting a high-risk HIV population in LA. Eligible participants, Black or Latino, MSM and who were aged ≥18 years of age, were invited to take a survey 2 weeks after test delivery. Results: The website received 4389 unique visitors and 333 test requests, of which 247 (74%) were requests for mailed tests, 58 (17%) were for vouchers and 28 (8%) were for vending machines. Of the 125 participants, 74% reported at least one episode of condomless anal intercourse in the past 3 months, 29% last tested for HIV over 1 year ago and 9% had never been tested. Conclusions: It was feasible to use Grindr™ to distribute HIV self-test kits. Users are willing to provide personal information in exchange for a free self-test and found self-tests acceptable and easy to use. HIV self-testing promotion through apps has a high potential to reach untested high-risk populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases