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That Hot Grindr Profile Could Be An Official From Your Local Health Department

Grindr for textA lot of us have wasted valuable cruise time when some dude on Grindr turns out to be a player with fake pics. But what if that sizzling profile belonged to a woman from the local health department?

The Bay Area Reporter is providing details of a health department project in San Mateo County that creates fake Grindr profiles in order to chat with gay men about safer sex and STD’s. The profiles use stock images of male models but otherwise include very little information. Gay men have been happily taking the bait.

The fake hotties from the health department do not initiate contact with anyone but wait until they are approached by men on the prowl (who often attach sexually explicit photos as a friendly hello). The health advocates then identify themselves and offer to answer questions or discuss the risk of STD’s. And yes, the advocate is sometimes female.

Rather than immediately shutting off their phones in embarrassment, nearly 80 percent of gay men continue the conversation, according to health department officials. And the program seems to be working. Contacts with gay men increased more than 500 percent during the first year of the program.

Grindr is less excited about the results, citing a policy that prohibits advertising in profiles. That stance hasn’t slowed down the efforts of San Mateo County, however, which insists their advocates are simply answering questions posed by other users.

No one disputes the importance of educating gay men about STD risks. Most Grindr users are sexually active gay men, risks are often taken, and at least 10 percent of Grindr users admit to never having had an HIV test. With so much misunderstood about the myths and facts of the new prevention pill PrEP, for instance, the value of educating gay men “where they are” is considerable.

The ethical issues are murkier. The Grindr program has the odor of entrapment. For their part, San Mateo County officials have asked how ethical it is to ignore apps like Grindr and their potential to reach such an important audience. Officials claim they are just doing what a lot of people do on Grindr: use fake pictures now and come clean later. Health advocates report they are getting positive feedback from Grindr users who appreciate the effort.

Speaking of effort, a lot of Grindr users apparently can’t take “fake” for an answer. Some continue to send explicit pictures and ask to meet up with the men in the photographs even after the charade has been revealed. No word yet on whether any love connections have occurred between Grindr users and health advocates, male or female, but what a story that would make at the engagement party, right?

So, do you appreciate the effort to educate us about STD’s while we’re focused on hooking up, or is it an intrusion on the whole cruising experience?

By:           Mark King
On:           Mar 20, 2014
Tagged: , , ,
  • 11 Comments
    • Tookietookie123
      Tookietookie123

      I think it’s sort of good. Our community has a problem when it comes to STDs, it’s like we don’t care as much, especially men on grindr, they just want to get off. HIV is one of the more dangerous STDs, but it isn’t the only one to affect us, there’s hepatitis, herpes, gonorrhea(now there’s an incurable version of this) and much more, but it seems they don’t care. The reality is, your ephemeral “partner” won’t tell you if they have it, why should they? If you don’t care for your own health and safety, why should they? It’s nice to get a slap in the face by reality, and teach younger people about the dangers out there.

      Mar 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wayne_in_NYC
      Wayne_in_NYC

      There is an AIDS organization here in New York City that is doing the same thing on Adam4Adam.com! They invite you to come to their free party, and when you get there it’s about safe sex! Not really much of a party!

      Mar 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ron Jackson
      Ron Jackson

      It’s deceptive and rude. Gaydom has enough phonies. We don’t need any more.

      Mar 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy Budd
      Billy Budd

      I am against deceit. This program is definitely wrong.

      Mar 20, 2014 at 10:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • boring
      boring

      My Grindr profile reads like a panic attack, it’s awesome.

      Mar 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stanhope
      stanhope

      This is bullshit. If these are public health officials, then they are taking tax money. They should not engage in deception. Who the fuck gives them the right to moralize with consenting adults? Sounds like some sexually frustrated ugly people to me.

      Mar 21, 2014 at 2:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • misterhollywood
      misterhollywood

      I have heard a lot of people complaining about this. I understand the need for reach out but do they need to be dishonest with people? This is why people run from these organizations. They all have grant money they are trying to go after. There are other ways to do this without being deceptive.

      Mar 21, 2014 at 7:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ben Dover
      Ben Dover

      Everyone lies on Grindr, it’s just a matter of degree.

      And they’re mostly not too bright either!: “a lot of Grindr users apparently can’t take “fake” for an answer. Some continue to send explicit pictures and ask to meet up with the men in the photographs even after the charade has been revealed.”

      Mar 21, 2014 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tackle
      Tackle

      Ethics and Grindr or most online site don’t even belong in the same sentence, considering that most users lie in their profile. Users lie about age, with false pics, STD status, relationship status: etc… So I really cannot be upset with this organization for being deceptive.

      Mar 21, 2014 at 10:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jbeau
      jbeau

      As a nurse practitioner, I definitely think this is a good idea, as people are often scared to ask these questions in the office or even come into the office to get checked out.

      Let me ask this: if this “deception” ended up saving 1 person from getting an incurable infection, wouldn’t it be worth it? These people are trying to help; they are not being malicious. You can still chat with other people on grindr while also receiving anonymous education that most people desperately need.

      Mar 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DonW
      DonW

      I’m happy to hear about this. I’m just amazed someone is doing any public health outreach on these apps at all — a whole generation of gay men is getting zero objective information on sexual health. Grindr’s lip service to health information is embarrassing.

      The health department’s approach might need to be fine-tuned, but without the cooperation of the company they probably had to resort to deception.

      Mar 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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