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RI Researchers Link Use Of Apps Like Grindr To New HIV Cases

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Brown University researchers have established a link between new cases of HIV and the use of online hook-up sites among men who have sex with men. The...

Brown University researchers have established a link between new cases of HIV and the use of online hook-up sites among men who have sex with men. The researchers are calling on sites like Grindr to help curb the spread of the disease.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Philip Chan and public health researcher Amy Nunn, Ph.D suspected a link between apps like Grindr and new cases of HIV, but until now they didn’t have the data to back that claim.

So the researchers interviewed 70 of the 74 new cases of HIV in Rhode Island in 2013. They found that of the men who had sex with men among those new cases, more than half said they believed they were infected by someone they met through one of these sites.

Now the researchers are calling on the websites and apps to join public health officials in fighting the spread of HIV. One strategy might be embedding more messages about HIV prevention directly on the sites. HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact and by contact with infected blood, such as through the use of injection drugs. 

Grindr representatives could not be immediately reached for comment. But some public health organizations have reportedly worked with the company and others like it on the issue.

The research is published in the journal Public Health Reports.

HIV test questionnaire. 1 in 8 people who have HIV don't know they're infected, according to the CDC.
HIV test questionnaire. 1 in 8 people who have HIV don't know they're infected, according to the CDC.