STAY INFORMED ON CORONAVIRUS
With more cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) occurring worldwide, maintaining a healthy immune system is more important than ever. For individuals living with HIV, this means keeping your CD4 count up and viral load low. Click here to find out more.
UPDATES TO SEXUAL HEALTH & SAFETY PRACTICES
We’ve recently made some updates to profile options for sexual health and safety practices in order to promote awareness and support users who choose to share sexual health information. These updates were developed following consultation with both our users and with Building Healthy Online Communities, a consortium of public health leaders and gay app owners who work together to support HIV and STI prevention online.
These new profile options are entirely optional, and we encourage our community to make the choices that are right for them when it comes to disclosing these details.
We recognize that many of us change our sexual health practices over time -- we may be using condoms during some periods, or PrEP during others; sometimes we know our viral load to be undetectable and sometimes we may not. For that reason, we encourage users who do choose to share those details to revisit these options periodically to make sure they accurately reflect their status, test dates, and sexual practices. Together, we can help everyone make informed choices about sexual health.
HIV STATUS OPTIONS
We have always recognized the unique responsibility we have to the LGBTQ+ community, especially when it comes to the security and privacy of our members’ data. We understand the sensitivity of HIV status, and know that it has been used to discriminate against our community in the past. Health information, including HIV status, is data we have not and would not ever share with third-party advertising networks.
We also recognize that having the opportunity to disclose their HIV status allows our users to be empowered and visible, and can also help reduce HIV stigma.
If you’re comfortable sharing status on your profile, you can select from the following options:
- Positive, Undetectable
- Let’s discuss
Negative indicates a person has tested negative for HIV.
Positive indicates a person has tested positive for HIV.
Positive, Undetectable refers to people living with HIV who take their medication as prescribed and have an undetectable viral load. Someone with an undetectable viral load has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.
This option replaces “Treatment as Prevention.” We have updated the phrasing to keep language consistent with other apps and with best practice guidelines from public health organizations. Learn more about using HIV treatment as prevention here.
SAFETY PRACTICES OPTIONS
We want our community to feel empowered to make informed decisions about safer sex. Users who choose to share information about their own safety practices can select from the following options:
- I’m taking PrEP
- I’m undetectable
- Let’s discuss
Condoms: Consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of STD and HIV transmission. However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. Learn more about condoms here.
I’m taking PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention approach where HIV-negative individuals use anti-HIV medications to reduce their risk of becoming infected if they are exposed to the virus. Studies show that people who take PrEP daily reduce their risk of HIV infection by 92-99%.
You can learn more about PrEP here.
For the latest information on countries where PrEP is available, visit PrEP Watch.
I’m undetectable: Undetectable refers to people living with HIV who take their medication as prescribed and have an undetectable viral load. Someone with an undetectable viral load has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.
FINDING POZ USERS
You can select Poz under Communities and Interests in the Profile Editor to share that you identify with the Poz community. Many of our HIV positive members use this option to connect and find community with other HIV positive guys, but whatever your status, if you’re “poz friendly” or open to dating or having sex with someone of any HIV status, we encourage you to use this option.
We don’t allow users to filter search results by HIV status.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET TESTED?
If you have more than one partner or have had casual sex with people you don’t know, you should be screened regularly for STDs and HIV (for example, every 3 to 6 months). Knowing your status allows you to get early treatment if you do get a positive result, or to pursue PrEP or other prevention options in order to stay negative.
Your doctor can offer you the best care if you discuss your sexual history openly, and we encourage you to find a doctor or provider you are comfortable with. If you’re in the U.S., CDC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Services page has resources that can help you find health care providers that are skilled in providing health services to gay, bi, trans and queer men.
WHERE CAN I GET TESTED?
There are many places where you can be tested for HIV and STDs: in the offices of a private doctor, a local health department, hospitals, family planning clinics and sites specifically set up for HIV testing. Always try to find testing at a place where counselling is provided about HIV. You can also take an HIV test in privacy by using an HIV self-test kit. However, you should go and see your health-care provider in the event of a positive test result for confirmation and seeking appropriate treatment.
If you’re in the U.S., you can find a free or low cost testing location near you by visiting Greater Than AIDS.
TakeMeHome will send you a free HIV test kit and instructions in a discreet package. Just swipe your gums with the test swab, put it in the test tube, and you’ll get results in 20 minutes. To see if you’re eligible and for more information, click HERE.
To find testing sites in Europe, visit AIDSMap.com’s HIV Test Finder.