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Grindr drops ads from AIDS charity that linked app use with Gonorrhea

Nick Duffy September 30, 2015

Grindr is taking action against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, over billboards that encourage hook-up app users to take STD tests.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which grew up in the 1980s amid the AIDS crisis, took out a series of controversial billboards conflating hook-up apps with STDs.

The billboards erected in LA this month feature a male silhouette figure with the ‘Grindr’ logo kissing another man with ‘gonorrhea’ over his face. A second couple see ‘Tinder’ kissing ‘Chlamydia’.

The ad then promotes a free testing service, Free STD Check.

However, spokespeople from both Grindr and Tinder have spoken out about the ads.

A spokesperson for gay hook-up app Grindr said the company has now pulled AHF’s ads from its in-app advertising, over the controversy.

The spokesperson told the LA Times: “We were surprised at the approach [the foundation] took, and paused the campaign in order to speak with them and assess our relationship.”

“As one of the world’s largest gay platforms, we take this issue very seriously.

“At the end of the day, we are all on the same side in this issue, and strive to work with our partners and advocacy groups to achieve similar goals. A more connected and informed gay community is a better thing for us all.”

The spokesperson added that the app regularly works to promote STD testing and men’s health issues, citing partnerships with a number of health groups and research carried out.

Meanwhile, Tinder is considering legal action over the ads.

A Tinder attorney said: “These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder’s reputation in an attempt to encourage others to take an HIV test by your organization.”

However, the AHF’s public health director Whitney Engeran-Cordova said the ads were designed for the modern world.

She said: “In many ways, location-based mobile dating apps are becoming a digital bathhouse for millennials wherein the next sexual encounter can literally just be a few feet away—as well as the next STD.

“While these sexual encounters are often intentionally brief or even anonymous, sexually transmitted diseases can have lasting effects on an individual’s personal health and can certainly create epidemics in communities at large.”

More: Add, Gay, Grindr, hook up, LGBT, sexuality, tech, technology

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