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Grindr Users Take More Risks, but Are More Open to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Pre-exposure Prophylaxis: Could This Dating App Provide a Platform for HIV Prevention Outreach?



Technology has changed the way that men who have sex with men (MSM) seek sex. More than 60% of MSM in the United States use the internet and/or smartphone-based geospatial networking apps to find sex partners. We correlated use of the most popular app (Grindr) with sexual risk and prevention behavior among MSM.


A nested cohort study was conducted between September 2018 and June 2019 among MSM receiving community-based human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening in central San Diego. During the testing encounter, participants were surveyed for demographics, substance use, risk behavior (previous 3 months), HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use, and Grindr usage. Participants who tested negative for HIV and who were not on PrEP were offered immediate PrEP.


The study included 1256 MSM, 1090 of whom (86.8%) were not taking PrEP. Overall, 580 of 1256 (46%) participants indicated that they used Grindr in the previous 7 days. Grindr users reported significantly higher risk behavior (greater number of male partners and condomless sex) and were more likely to test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea (8.6% vs 4.7% of nonusers; P = .005). Grindr users were also more likely to be on PrEP (18.7% vs 8.7% of nonusers; P < .001) and had fewer newly diagnosed HIV infections (9 vs 26 among nonusers; P = .014). Grindr users were also nearly twice as likely as nonusers to initiate PrEP (24.6% vs 14%; P < .001).


Given the higher risk behavior and greater acceptance of PrEP among MSM who used Grindr, Grindr may provide a useful platform to promote HIV and STI testing and increase PrEP uptake.

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