17 Mar 2015

Dating and hook-up apps to combat sexually transmitted infections

Australian researchers have used the gay dating app Grindr to effectively combat a small outbreak of syphilis in Darwin. The study, carried out by the Northern Territory Department of Health and the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC), was launched after a number of men tested positive for the infection between February and July 2013.

The outbreak was contained to men who have sex with men so researchers decided to use the gay hook-up app Grindr to get messages out to them about testing. Kim Gates, executive director of the NTAHC, said, "There was a significant increase in the number of men getting tested for STIs [after the advertising came out]. It was at least double what the normal testing rates are for each clinic in the territory."

Christopher Fairley, professor of public health at Monash University and director of Melbourne Sexual Health Centre at Alfred Health, said the Grindr campaign signaled a new wave in communicating public health messages. "Before, we read newspapers and then TV came along and we got it from there, and now there are all sorts of different ways to get information out and and this is just another example of a good way to do it," he said. "This campaign has been extremely effective."

Reference: www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/03/tinder-grindr-used-stop-spread-sexually-transmitted-infections
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