HIV Ireland has partnered with Grindr, the world’s largest dating app for queer men, to bring its Irish users a new service to order free at-home HIV testing kits directly on the platform. The app now features a seamless process to order one of the kits in less than three minutes, making HIV testing more accessible to all users.
The initiative was launched Monday, November 20, to mark the start of European Testing Week, and it aims to address barriers faced by individuals in accessing HIV testing. HIV Ireland has been at the forefront of better access to testing for years, finding new approaches such as peer-led rapid testing in LGBTQ+ bars and a free self-test service.
This partnership with Grindr represents a significant milestone, as Ireland is now the first country outside of the US where the app provides such a service to its users.
With a dedicated function on the app, Grindr users in Ireland can now directly access MPOWER’s HIV testing portal. Self-test kits can be ordered there and will be sent by post in discreet packaging.
Speaking about the launch of the initiative, MPOWER Programme Manager Adam Shanley said: “We are proud to join forces with Grindr in this pioneering initiative to break down barriers and make HIV testing more accessible to the communities we serve. By integrating our HIV self-test order portal directly into the Grindr app, we are providing users with a convenient and confidential way to take control of their health.
“For various service users, including those living in rural areas or individuals who are not openly ‘out’ to their families, barriers to access can become even more pronounced,” Shanley continued. “Thinking outside of the box to make HIV self-testing more accessible provides users with a convenient and discreet option to prioritise their health at a time and a place that suits them.”
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Director of Grindr for Equality Jack Harrison-Quintana also commented on the new service, sharing: “For the past eight years, it has been my personal goal to figure out how to increase access to HIV testing for Grindr users, and of all the things I’ve experimented with, embedding in-app links to home test kits has emerged as the most powerful strategy by a considerable margin.
“I could not be more excited to launch this partnership in Ireland and to take it around the world,” Harrison-Quintana added.
As Executive Director of HIV Ireland Stephen O’Hare explained, the launch of the initiative coincided with the start of European Testing Week, which runs from November 20 to 27. The week is a European-wide campaign aimed at increasing testing efforts and promoting awareness about the benefits of early diagnoses.
“Our aim is to enhance accessibility to HIV self-testing, a simple and effective way to test for HIV, at a place and time of one’s own choosing,” explained O’Hare. “Users of the service can also avail of dedicated outreach and support services, including referral for treatment if required, from HIV Ireland’s MPOWER programme for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.”
In addition to the launch of the service, throughout this week, HIV Ireland will also provide self-tests to pick up at the Dublin Pride Hub and rapid HIV tests in popular queer venues in Dublin such as Pantibar, The George and Outhouse.
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