A survey of New York users of Grindr shows 1 in 10 have never had an HIV test.
More than 1,300 gay and bisexual men in the city who use the gay dating app took part in the research by Hunter College’s Centre for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST).
The research also suggested one third of men surveyed who have never been tested for HIV say that they are negative – without actually knowing their status.
Dr Jeffrey Parsons, the director of CHEST said: “When we first began looking at the data, we were surprised to find that 1 in 10 men on Grindr in NYC had never received an HIV test and we quickly realised we needed to look further into the issue.”
Further analysis showed that the proportion of older gay men getting tested for HIV was notably higher than that of younger gay men, with 1 in 5 between the ages of 18-24 having never received an HIV test.
Out of all of the men surveyed on Grindr, half of them had received an HIV test in the past 6 months, and over 70% of them had been tested in the past year; whereas only 52% of all gay men in the New York City area reported receiving an HIV test in the past year.
The data indicated that men who engage in risky sexual behaviour had been tested more recently than men who hadn’t, suggesting awareness among these men of an increased risk for HIV infection.
Additionally, the survey found that the proportion of younger men of colour who had received HIV tests was higher than other men in this sample.
Dr Parsons added: “These findings suggest that some prevention messages – specifically that MSM that engage in unprotected sex should have more frequent HIV testing – are reaching the intended audience. Further, it is good to see that community-based efforts to provide HIV testing to young men of colour appear to be working.”
The findings showed HIV remains the biggest health concern for gay and bisexual men.