Tinder Adds STD Testing Info and Makes Up with AHF

AHF's STD billboard
AHF’s STD billboard

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Tinder have made up. AHF, the world’s largest non-governmental AIDS/HIV care provider, announced today that it is removing Tinder from billboards that suggest there’s a link between use of that and other mobile phone apps and sexually transmitted diseases.

AHF announced the move today, praising Tinder for adding a “health safety” section to its website that includes a link to free HIV and STD testing sites. AHF said it had recommended that to Tinder.

Last September Tinder demanded that AHF halt its STD/mobile app campaign and take down the billboards. Tinder issued a cease and desist letter, claiming AHF’s public service ad “…is responsible for… falsely associating Tinder with the contraction of venereal disease.” AHF has declined Tinder’s demand that it remove references to Tinder in its campaign. Grindr, the gay-focused app mentioned in the AHF billboard campaign, responded by cancelling AHF’s paid advertising campaign on Grindr for free STD testing services.

AHF said the campaign was intended to draw attention to rising STD rates among users of mobile dating or “hookup” phone apps such as Grindr, Scruff and Tinder.

“Tinder is proud to empower millions of users to create relationships,” said Dr. Jessica Carbino, lead sociologist at Tinder. “An important aspect of any healthy relationship – whether formed on Tinder or otherwise – is ensuring sexual health and safety. We’d be delighted to see other major social networks follow in our footsteps in educating the public.”

“Staying healthy in today’s dating world means getting tested regularly, practicing safe sex and having honest conversations about your HIV and STD status,: said Ramin Bastani, CEO of Healthvana, which provides the link to free testing sites. “Healthvana empowers people with actionable health information at their fingertips so they can make better decisions. We already have hundreds of thousands of people using our testing locator to find free, quick and confidential testing at sexual health clinics near them.”

“The CDC recently reported that sexually transmitted diseases increased dramatically in 2014,” said Whitney Engeran Cordova, senior firector, of AHF’s Public Health Division. “We are unfortunately now waging an uphill battle on this front. The CDC also noted, the majority of these infections are affecting young people – the demographic that is on their mobile phones all day long. This is why it is such welcome news that Tinder will add a health safety section with a link to Healthvana, making it easier for people to find testing locations through an easily accessible, modern platform. And we hope to see other dating sites do the same.”