Gay Apps and the Blame Game
A brief presentation of a research on gay apps was shown to the plenary:
Preferences of MSMs
- Majority of men endorsed the idea that apps and online forums were acceptable sources of health info
- HIV specific applications were minimally downloaded and were not highly rated
- Mixed perceptions aboutt confidentiality associated with online services
Interventions utilizing ICT among MSM
- Over-all larger reach
- Multi-pronged approach increased likelihood of men seeking out health services
- Successful plot studies among users
Increasing digital presence among comm organizations and programmes
- Majority of pro utilizing ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for the purposes of healh information delivery
- Emphasis on peer to peer intervention
- Need for formal evaluation was noted
Considerations for future work
- Ecological approach may provide a tool for delivering interventions and information
- HIV prevention should be tailored to target audiences and be cultutally competent
- Integration of HIV information into existing platforms
- Develop working relationships with companies (Grindr, etc)
Jack Harrison-Quintana – Grindr Director for Equality
I met Jack Day 2 of the pre-conference. He was introduced by our friends from India’s Humsafar Trust. It was funny because he shook my hands and he went like, “I’m Jack from Grindr”. And after a few seconds, he explained he “works with Grindr”, and that he’s not Jack doing Grindr….
He talked about segmenting messages according to:
- HIV Status
- Gender identity
PreP or Pre-exposure prophylaxis has been (in 2016) a primary campaign for Grindr with the following notes:
- Latinos were 10% less likely to be in PreP
- 1/10 reporting having trouble getting docs to prescribe preps
- Blans were twice likely
- PreP partners #asktheHIVDoc
- PreP uptake in the US, surveyed 10,000 users
- 1/5 who are on PreP today cited Grindr for Equality’s campaign as having directly impacted their decision to talk to their doctors about the drug
Notes on In App messages (messages that pop out when you open the app):
- Title: Up to 45 characters including body spaces
- Body: Up to 350 characters including spaces
- Link: Mobile-optimized
At this point, my laptop’s battery drained so all other notes below are from memory. And as proven time and time again, my memory isn’t really the best reference =)
HORNET HIV INTERVENTIONS – Sean Howell
- Hornet has more than 15M users worldwide
- 200 million messages
Hornet has filter options to allow positive users to choose their HIV status so other HIV positive users can see them. I feel this is dangerous for the Philippines as others can just put in a positive profile and access other positive users.
Hornet has been partnering in Asia with Loveyourself (Philippines) and TestBKK (Thailand).
BLUED – Geng Le, President
Blued has more than 20Million users, I approached Mr. Le at the end of the talk and inquired about a possible partnership, he did say that the Philippines has a growing base of more than 10,000 Blued users.
Blued has an option to search for nearby HIV testing centers in China. I felt this is something we can use in the Philippines as well. I am looking forward to this partnership.
My apologies as I did not have that much notes from both Blued and Hornet.
- So many people have been blaming the gay apps for causing the spread of HIV, I personally feel this is not the case. One’s sexual behavior is not dependent nor influenced by the gay apps. Come to think of it, the gay apps have been working with the HIV advocacy extensively.
- The gay apps have been a rich source of “hook-ups” and to some, even friends. The fact is even without gay apps. MSMs will always find a way to hook up in bars and bath houses and movie houses and malls and parks and even in public transports. But we don’t hear people blaming these places for HIV, do we?
- Gay apps may be accessed to help up increase HIV testing uptake. So let’s not blame our apps please.
- All Gay apps have expressed openness to partner with the CSOs to further intensify the HIV and AIDS response. Why not?!
- The convenience of blaming the HIV epidemic on the gay apps is so easy for some. There.
HIV & AIDS Support House Inc.