The AIDS foundation behind dozens of Los Angles billboards pointing to the finger at apps like Tinder and Grindr for being the culprits in helping to spread sexually transmitted diseases is standing their ground.
Outraged by the advertisements that point fingers at them for being promoters essentially of the irresponsible spread of STD’s, dating apps Tinder and Grindr are fighting back.
It goes without saying that not all dating apps, or people that use them, are partaking in casual sex which could in fact increase the spread of STIs and STDs, but the Internet itself is an enabler for more sexual anonymity without question, according to the Washington Post.
“The most conclusive evidence linking the Internet to STD rates is a much cited 2013 study that found that the introduction of Craigslist to 33 states across the country led to a 15 percent increase in HIV rates.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has chimed in that there is an estimated 20 million new cases of STI’s every year in the United States.
The AIDS health care group though is standing strong though behind the ad campaign in Los Angeles. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is directly targeting Tinder, a location-based dating app, as well as Grindr, a similar site for gay men, in order to raise awareness and remind users about the risks of casual sex.
“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, senior public health director for the foundation, said in a statement.
The billboards themselves show a silhouette of a man labeled “Tinder” directly facing a woman’s silhouette that is labeled “chlamydia” along with a similar representation of “Grindr” facing a label that says “gonorrhea.”
The reaction to the billboards began within hours of their going up all over Los Angeles. In a swift initial response, Grindr pulled all of the commercials that the foundation pays for on the dating site. Similarly, within 24 hours, Tinder released a cease and desist letter saying that the campaign is falsely associating their dating app with the spread of venereal diseases.
“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 offered by your organization,” a lawyer for Tinder wrote.
But the foundation sent a letter to Tinder and denied that they disparaged the company and said that it would absolutely not remove the reference to their app in their advertisements.
The foundation’s president, Michael Weinstein, supports their campaign in that it brings awareness to the rising number of STDs reported linked directly to the rising popularity and use of the sites and apps that make “hooking up” easier.
“It’s logical, if you can be hooked up with someone in an urban area within minutes,” he said, “of course you’re going to have to more STDs.”
The foundation is moving forward with putting up the same advertisements in New York City, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.