Guest Blogger

Gay Dating App Survey Reveals Racism & HIV Stigma

Filed By Guest Blogger | March 21, 2015 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay dating, gay dating apps, HIV status, infographic, racism in the gay community

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Michael Alvear is the founder of grabhim.net, the largest gay dating advice site in the U.S. He is also the author of several dating guides like Meet Hotter Guys and The Guide To Gay Texting.


When we first commissioned our 4,000 person survey on the habits of gay men on dating apps we knew there would be a lot of fun, interesting insights. For example, 83% of all gay men send dick pics. What we weren't prepared for where the answers that revealed a strong strain of racism and HIV stigmatization. Take a look:

57% of HIV Negative Men Discriminate Against HIV+ Guys.

We asked a simple question: "Assuming you're HIV negative, how likely are you to initiate contact or respond favorably to attractive guys who state they are HIV+ in their profile?" The good news is that 43% of gay men said they would be likely/highly likely to make contact. The bad news is that a majority (57%) said no. We think that's bad news because it reveals the depth of HIV stigma among gay men.

Now, you could make the argument that avoiding HIV-positive men is not discrimination but a conscious effort to avoid infection. This is an understandable fear, given the severity of the condition. Yes, HIV is "manageable" but that doesn't make it any less scary to negative gay men.

Still, given what we know about how easy it is to avoid HIV through safe sex, the rise of Truvada as a prophylactic and the low likelihood that the majority of infected men getting treatment can pass on the infection (being "undetectable" greatly lowers transmission possibilities) we think avoiding profiles that disclose status is rather irrational.

Worse, it stigmatizes men with HIV. This finding in our survey broke our hearts. To know that so many gay men would refuse to say hello or respond to a friendly greeting simply because of somebody's sero-status is a little hard to bear. On another front...

10% of HIV+ Men Don't Disclose Their Status Until Specifically Asked.

The good news is that 90% of respondents who are HIV+ said they disclose before having sex. Still, this 10% figure frames an important aspect of keeping yourself safe from infection: Do not assume that all HIV+ men will volunteer their status.

The other disappointing finding in our survey has to do with race. We asked a simple question: "How likely are you to either initiate contact and respond favorably to somebody outside of your race?" The good news is that 70% of people said they were likely or highly likely to initiate or respond. Sadly, 30% say they were unlikely or highly unlikely to communicate.

Although our survey revealed some ugly habits among gay men using dating apps, it also showed some fascinating statistics, like 45% of all guys who actually meet never hookup. In other words, almost half of people who meet physically after trading pics, texting and possibly Skyping or talking on the phone decide they don't want anything after the initial handshake.

There's an infographic with results from our survey after the break.

gay-dating-app-infographic.jpg

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