This article was published on December 20th, 2014
Whether it’s to find new friends, a long-term relationship, someone to talk to, or a random hook-up, geo location apps are one of the easiest ways for gay men to meet other gay men. All they need is an iPhone, Samsung, or some other smartphone device with mobile or WiFi data connection and they are ready to download apps to get them started to meet other gay men in their area.
Many users of these types of apps want to be able to search and filter through people in the area to find the best matches as quickly and easily as possible. Being able to read simple biographical information up front helps the user determine if the other guy is what they are looking for.
Hornet App is one of the better gay geo-location apps for users to be able to search, filter, and look at multiple photos of people in their area, or search people in specific areas. Hornet has over 4 million users worldwide, making it one of the most popular gay geo-location apps.
In the United States, 20% of gay and bisexual men are estimated to be living with HIV. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 44% of the men under the age of 35 said they had never been tested for HIV. There are many jurisdictions around the world that ignore HIV education completely and openly discriminate against gays.
Getting tested regularly and knowing your own HIV status is one of the top tools to have in your safer-sex tool kit. It’s also extremely important to know your partners’ status and when they were last tested. Unfortunately, not enough men are asking the questions or getting tested regularly. By knowing each partners HIV status, you can make an educated decisions on the types of sexual participation each partner is comfortable with. Serodiscrimination is a good example of using safer-sex practices.
Hornet has recently introduced enhancements to the “Know your status” feature of their app, which now allow users to get more specific about their HIV status. These include giving users the options to disclose if they are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), or if they are positive and have an undetectable viral load.
Hornet CEO, Sean Howell said, “We are committed to looking for ways to eliminate stigma about this disease and to share the latest health facts on preventing HIV and empowering those living with HIV better options for self-expression.”
“Positive, Undetectable”. This option is for those who are HIV positive, on antiretroviral therapy, and when tested for viral load register undetectable. Studies have shown that this type of treatment can reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to their HIV Negative partners by as much as 96%.
The second new option is “Negative, on PrEP”. PrEP, also known by the brand name medication, Truvada, can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 99% when taken daily. Truvada is endorsed at PrEP in the United States by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is available through most doctors. In Canada, Truvada is not approved for use as PrEP by Health Canada, however, it is available through a handful of physicians who are prescribing the drug off-label, and through pilot programs in both Toronto and Montreal.
“In planning all of these changes we were shocked when we surveyed a sample of our members about their lack of understanding of either of these options,” said Sean Howell. “In fact, nearly all guys told us they had to search online to find out what these meant before they could answer our questions. Having done so, a clear majority felt these new options were important and should be added to the app”.
The interviews conducted with Hornet members underlined the need to explain and educate. The third significant change is that the app now includes comprehensive background on HIV/AIDS, and detailed explanations of all the different KYS profile choices. Recognizing the global reach of the Hornet app, this information is being translated into 26 different languages. Whether Hornet members are in San Francisco, London, Paris, Moscow, São Paulo, Istanbul or Bangkok, the same information is available in a language they know and understand.