IDWeek 2019 — Grindr use predicts high-risk behavior and greater acceptance of PrEP


  • Devona Williams, Pharm.D.
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway

  • Assessment of Grindr dating app use activity is an objective measure to help identify optimal candidates for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) initiation.

Why this matters

  • It is critically important to understand the behaviors of individuals at risk for acquisition of HIV for early initiation of PrEP.
  • Evaluation of usage of dating apps in high-risk populations can be used by clinicians to target candidates for PrEP therapy.

Study design

  • Nested cohort study of men who have sex with men (MSM) who participated in a community-based program offering free sexually transmitted infection testing in addition to immediate free access to treatment. 
  • Grindr app usage was monitored for participants who were iPhone users.
  • Participants completed surveys on demographics, substance use, and sexual behaviors in the prior 3 months.

Key results

  • Grindr users had significantly higher San Diego Early Test scores for high-risk sexual behaviors (median 5 vs 2, P<.001>
  • Frequent Grindr users reported almost twice as many sex partners and had more cases of newly diagnosed chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • MSM who use the Grindr app were more likely to accept immediate initiation of PrEP therapy, 25% vs 14%. 
  • Multivariate analysis of characteristics that increase PrEP acceptance: younger age, recent diagnosis of sexually transmitted infection, higher-risk sexual behaviors.

Limitations

  • Single-center cohort.
  • Use of only 1 dating app and 1 phone platform was studied.
  • Results presented at conference and not peer-reviewed.

Expert commentary

  • Eric Daar, MD, Chief Division of HIV Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, commented that it is critically important to understand the behaviors of high-risk individuals, since PrEP is one of the main pillars for ending the HIV epidemic. Dr. Daar, who was not involved in the study, went on to say that the study represents a novel strategy to better understanding. 
     

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