Gay Dating App Survey Reveals Racism & HIV Stigma

Published: March 21, 2015

The Bilerico Project
Original Article:

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…

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