Grindr Testing Out Plan For HIV Status Filter

Is sorting profiles by status a useful feature or recipe for disaster?

It looks as if Grindr is considering adding a new feature that would allow users to filter profiles by HIV status.

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David Myles

University of Montreal’s David Myles posted the above screenshots in an online forum for academics researching hookup apps, according to same same.

HIV-positive blogger Josh Robbins claimed to have received the same survey when he logged onto Grindr last week.

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The Grindr Project

The brief poll asks users what their status was, whether they’d list it and how they felt if Grindr had a HIV-status filter. They’re also asked, if they list their status as positive but undetectable, what information led them to choose that option.

Gay men have been serosorting since before the age hookup apps—and certainly plenty of guys state a clear preference on their Grindr profiles.

But is offering a filter creating a dangerous divide in our community?

The filter would be based on the honor system, presumably, so anyone who doesn’t want to be stigmatized as positive could simply lie about their status. The result being that responsible poz men, the ones more likely to be undetectable, will be blocked from many users—and those ashamed (or unaware) of their status will create a higher-risk situation.

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Bad Blood blogger Daniel Reeders says Grindr needs to drop the idea post haste.

“Would the HIV filter [make positive members] invisible to others whose HIV status didn’t match their preferences—like an automatic block function? If it did, and enough HIV-negative people used it, it really would constitute a form of digital quarantine that leaves people with HIV outcast and invisible.”

“We are living in an era of effective prevention medication,” he adds. “We should not be reinforcing categories that are used in less effective strategies for prevention.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery