THE minds behind gay networking app Grindr are reportedly considering adding a feature so users can filter potential matches based on their HIV status.

Academic David Myles from the University of Montreal shares Grindr screenshots with a group of researchers looking into dating apps, which revealed Grindr was surveying users about whether they would like to filter men based on their HIV status.

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The questions in the survey included asking if someone was HIV positive, negative, on PrEP, or undetectable. Another survey question asked how users felt about being allowed to filter people on their HIV status.

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Blogger Daniel Reeders compared the proposed changes to a kind of digital quarantine.

“Would the HIV filter work differently, making that user invisible to others whose HIV status didn’t match their preferences — more like an automatic block function?” he said.

“If it did, and enough HIV-negative people used it, it really would constitute a form of digital quarantine that leaves people with HIV outcast and invisible. If it didn’t, it might set the scene for even more stigmatising encounters, fuelled by filter users’ surprise (and probably anger) that someone with HIV had contacted them.”

“Alternatively, they might assume that everyone who contacted them was HIV-negative, and the problematic implications of that assumption are well-known.

“Grindr needs to cut this out. Right now. We are living in an era of effective prevention medication. We should not be reinforcing categories that are used in less effective strategies for prevention.”

Star Observer reached out to Grindr for a comment and is awaiting their reply.

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