Grindr launches first HIV test locating service in India

Grindr (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Updated | Gay dating app Grindr has made history by developing the first-ever HIV test locating service in India.

The gay hook-up app is increasingly popular across the world – attracting 3.6 million users around the globe daily.

Grindr has launched the programme in collaboration with Indian gender and sexuality organisation Varta Trust and Chennai-based not-for-profit Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII).

Some sexual health experts have sought to link the rise of apps like Grindr and Tinder to a boom in certain sexually transmitted infections, with a controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation billboard campaign previously linking gonorrhoea and chlamydia to the apps.

Grindr (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Grindr has thousands of users in India (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

However, thanks to a collaboration between Grindr’s outreach program Grindr for Equality, Varta Trust and SAATHII, the dating app now directs users in India to the health and legal services locator hosted on Varta Trust’s website.

Jack Harrison-Quintana, VP of social impact and executive director of Grindr for Equality called the partnership historic.

He said: “This is a historic partnership that will greatly enable and empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in India to identify queer-friendly providers and receive the care and support they deserve.”

Pawan Dhall, the creator of the locator and founder of the Varta Trust, one of India’s largest LGBT organisations, came up with the idea to partner with Grindr.

Many LGBT people struggle to find services in India (Creative Commons)

Dhall said: “It may come as a surprise to some, but queer people in India still find it difficult to quickly locate health and legal services, including online.

“Added to that is the question of the service provider being queer sensitive.

“So, even now, if you’re queer and you want a reliable HIV test in India, you’d have to ask a doctor, someone in the know, or know what to search for online. This locator can help reduce these obstacles significantly.”

The locator took a year to develop and includes LGBT friendly providers of health and legal services in at least 30 towns and cities.

This number is set to increase as the database is constantly updated.

In 2017, India took a historic step in ensuring equal rights for those with HIV in the subcontinent.

It is now far easier to get a HIV test in India (Creative Commons)

In April 2017, the Parliament in New Delhi unanimously passed The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, which outlawed discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS.

The legislation made it so informed consent is needed from patients before any tests, treatments or research are conducted.

It also made it illegal for patient’s HIV status to be revealed without their consent.

Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a pride parade in New Delhi on November 12, 2017. Hundreds of members of the LGBT community marched through the Indian capital for the 10th annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade. / AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

New Delhi Pride in 2017 (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty)

The Health Minister pledged that “whosoever who does not adhere to the provisions of the bill will be penalised.
“There will also be civil and criminal proceedings against them.”

He added that there had been “a need to provide an environment to such people in which they feel protected.”

The minister also promised that the government would promote research into HIV and create aggressive strategies around counselling and testing, especially in high-risk areas.