Gaydar and Grindr remove dangerous ‘cool gene’ HIV immunity advert

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An advert that appeared on Grindr and Gaydar and other dating sites and apps which promoted misleading advice about HIV has now been removed.

It was accompanied with the title ‘Got the cool gene?’ and promoted a test costing £39 that it claimed could determine whether an individual had a genetic mutation which makes HIV infection less likely.

In response, Matthew Hodson, head of programmes at gay men’s health charity GMFA, branded the advert a disgrace. He said: “With thousands of UK gay men becoming infected with HIV each year, it seems particularly irresponsible to be suggesting to gay men that they may be immune.”

Mr Hodson added: “It’s true that some people are less vulnerable to HIV than others, because of a specific gene mutation. However, even if you do have this mutation, it only offers partial protection – it does not guarantee that you will not become infected.

“Using condoms and lube is a much better method of prevention than a test that tells you that you may be less likely to catch HIV than someone else. I am delighted that Grindr and Gaydar have both removed this advert.”

Last week, a study in the Lancet said a return of risky sexual practices was a key reason why HIV rates among gay and bisexual men had not fallen in the past decade.