A report last week by Mashable revealed that Grindr and other primarily gay dating apps like DaddyHunt and Adam4Adam are reportedly working on ways to help users notify partners about STIs.
Mashable reported that Grindr and other apps are working with the Building Healthy Online Communities initiative, a health consortium that connects dating app developers with public health agencies and officials, to develop STD partner notification messages. Jack Harrison-Quintana, director of Grindr for Equality, told Mashable, “Grindr works very closely with Building Healthy Online Communities on several initiatives including STD-related notifications.”
STDs have been at an all-time high the past few years, with a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that there were more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the United States in 2016, which is the highest cumulative number ever recorded. Grindr and other apps working on these STD notification features could have a huge impact on how other apps navigate STDs with their users.
Dr. Heidi Bauer, the chief of STD control at the California Department of Health, and Dan Wohlfeiler, director of the health consortium Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), told Mashable that Grindr is working on possibly having parts of their app link out to notification services already in existence — and that are completely anonymous. In-app messaging without a third part is also being researched. Another option being considered is in-app messaging.
“We are exploring several additional sexual health-related features for our application,” Quintana said. “However, at this time, we are not disclosing any further details around this project.”
This news comes two weeks after Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control for the Department of Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle that social media played a big part in increasing STD rates because it helped people find anonymous sex partners.
Grindr recently launched new features for its users to receive HIV testing reminders and to have the ability to share their HIV status. It attracted negative attention once Buzzfeed reported that the app was sharing that information with third parties. Since then Grindr has pledged to stop sharing their users’ information.