November 4, 2013
Ten percent of men in New York City who use the geosocial networking application Grindr have never been tested for HIV, according to a recent survey conducted by the Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST). Even more alarming, 20 percent of young gay men (age 18-24) reported never having had an HIV test. These numbers are both much higher than the overall New York City average for gay men, which the study reports to be around only 2.6 percent.
About one third of the men who had never received an HIV test reported their HIV status as HIV negative, which one researcher points out, "may mean that men are sharing potentially inaccurate HIV status information with their partners on Grindr." Of those men who had never tested, about one third also claimed to have engaged in condomless anal sex within the past three months.
However, there were some silver linings to the statistics. Seventy percent of the men surveyed had been tested in the past year, whereas only 52 percent of New York City gay men reported receiving an HIV test in the past year. Also, the survey found that the proportion of young gay men of color who had received HIV tests was higher than that of other men in this sample. Jeffrey T. Parsons, Ph.D., who led the study, said, "These findings suggest some prevention messages -- specifically that MSM [men who have sex with men] that engage in unprotected sex should have more frequent HIV testing -- are reaching the intended audience."
Do you use geosocial networking apps for sex? Do these findings disturb you? Do they surprise you? Let us know in the comment section.
Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.