Feasibility of using Grindr to distribute HIV self-test kits to men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California
Rosengren et al.
Type of approach
Type of assistance
Key population: Men who have sex with men
UNAIDS HIV prevalence (2017)
0.2 [0.2 - 0.2]
The study advertised free HIVST kits on Grindr from October 13 to November 11, 2014, consisting of 300 000 banner ads and three broadcast messages targeting a high-risk population in Los Angeles. Eligible participants, black or Latino, men who have sex with men (MSM), and at least 18 years of age, were invited to take a survey at the time of the initial request and two weeks after test delivery. Oral fluid HIVST kits were sent to MSM who requested the test. Participants were unassisted and unobserved by the research team while self-testing.
Summary of findings
Over the 4-week study period, the HIVST campaign website received 4389 unique visitors and 333 test requests, of which 247 (74%) were requests for mailed tests, 58 (17%) were for vouchers, and 28 (8%) were for vending machines. Of those who requested tests, 125 participated in the online survey and 56 (45%) completed the follow-up survey two weeks later. In the survey, 74% of participants reported at least one episode of condomless anal intercourse in the past 3 months, 29% last tested for HIV over a year ago, and 9% had never tested. Of the 56 participants who completed the follow-up survey, 2 participants reported testing positive for HIV. Both sought confirmatory testing and were enrolled on treatment. 93% of HIVST users reported the kit was easy or very easy to use. 77% preferred or somewhat preferred HIVST over conventional testing in a clinic setting. It was feasible to use Grindr to distribute HIVST kits. Users are willing to provide personal information in exchange for a free self-test and found self-tests acceptable and easy to use. HIVST promotion through apps has a high potential to reach untested high-risk populations.
77% preferred or somewhat preferred HIVST over conventional testing in a clinic setting.
Willingness to pay
Willingness to pay details
Linkage to prevention, care and treatment
Two participants reported testing HIV-positive during the study. Both participants reported seeking confirmatory testing and linking to care and treatment.