The founder of an LGBT center in one of those places — Allentown, Pennsylvania — said they’ve seen a “dramatic increase” in HIV testing over the last two years.
“With free ads for our services running on Grindr, we’ve been able to target users in our community and raise awareness for our center and HIV-testing services,” said Adrian Shanker, founder of the Allentown, Pennsylvania Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, in a statement.
The hope is that the free ads will reach gay and bisexual men of color and people living in the South, who are overrepresented in HIV diagnosis stats. According to the CDC, black gay and bisexual men accounted for the largest number of new HIV diagnoses in 2016, followed by Hispanic and Latino men, then white men.
Although marginalized men may have trouble seeking HIV services, due to factors like location and stigma, they’re still using apps like Grindr, said Klausner. Which means this is a way to reach them in ways other campaigns can’t.
“Testing promotion and access to Grindr only works if people actually get tested, so it’s obviously important that men who have sex with men, particularly if they have more than one partner, get tested every three to six months,” he said.