Grindr to distribute free home HIV tests

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

    (CNN) -- Grindr, the popular LGBTQ+ dating app, is distributing free at-home HIV tests as part of a new public health initiative.

The app explained in a blog post that access to HIV testing is "one of the biggest limitations in the fight against the persistent HIV epidemic." HIV continues to affect the gay, bi and trans community more than many other groups.

The test is now available to order within the app's main menu to US-based users with a new "Free HIV Home Test" button. People will get an OraQuick kit, an FDA-approved, over-the-counter test that works by swabbing the gums and takes around 20 minutes to see results.

Grindr is calling the project "TakeMeHome" and partnered with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Building Healthy Online Communities, a consortium of public health programs and gay dating apps.

So far, the program has given away 125,000 HIV test kits, Grindr said in its blog post, and that one-third of those kits were sent to people taking a test for the first time, "showing the power and innovation that comes from bringing these partners together." The aim is to give away 1 million kits over the next five years and Grindr hopes to expand the program to other countries.

A 2019 CDC report found that fewer than 40% of people in the United States have been screened for HIV. It recommends that all people 13 to 64 be tested at least once. For those who have tested positive for HIV, the CDC recommends seeking immediate treatment with a number of medicines now available.

Grindr became a publicly traded company last year and has roughly 12 million monthly active users. Shares are up about 30% for the year.

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