Drivers in Los Angeles already have it pretty rough — they’re driving, in Los Angeles, after all.
But now on top of the traffic, the noise and the pollution, they also have their sexual health to worry about after passing by a new billboard erected by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
And maybe that’s a good thing?
The ad’s message, which depicts two couples in silhouette with the words “Tinder,” “chlamydia,” “Grindr,” and “gonorrhea” next to the text “freestdcheck.org” couldn’t be any clearer. A rise in hook-up culture contributes to a rise in STIs.
Are these apps at fault for their users’ actions by merely existing? No, but the connection remains.
Unsurprisingly, Tinder and Grindr aren’t too happy with the characterization, and Tinder actually sent a cease and desist letter to AHF to take down the ad.
“These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder’s reputation in an attempt to encourage others to take an HIV test by your organization,” Tinder attorney Jonathan Reichman said in a letter to the foundation.
Grindr quietly (by comparison) dropped AHF as a paid advertiser, saying, “We were surprised at the approach [the foundation] took, and paused the campaign in order to speak with them and assess our relationship.”
While AHF is by no means a knight in shining armor — they’re sex-negative attitude is well-documented — is there really any harm in reminding people to check their dipsticks?
Will fewer people use Grindr and Tinder as a result of the ad? (We think not.)
“In many ways, location-based mobile dating apps are becoming a digital bathhouse for millennials wherein the next sexual encounter can literally just be a few feet away—as well as the next STD,” Whitney Engeran-Cordova, the foundation’s public health division director, said in a statement.
If we can’t admit how these apps are being used, and encourage smart behavior, should we even have them in the first place?