Grindr Recognised For Public Health Partnership About Rising Syphilis Cases

Written by Dominic Whitlock

Grindr has been presented with a ‘Model Practices Award’ by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), for a campaign it helped to run to raise awareness of growing syphilis cases.

The Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) noticed an increase in cases in the area surrounding Morgantown, West Virginia. It also found that many of the cases were co-infected with HIV, which were being transmitted by men having unprotected sex with other men.

The team then set about contacting a number of LGBTQ dating and social platforms to see if they would be willing to host a public service safety announcement. Grindr was the only service that responded positively without requesting a marketing fee.

The educational message told users in the 50km radius around Morgantown that local cases were on the rise. It then directed them to the MCHD website where they were given more information about anonymous testing and consultation sessions.

According to Dr. Lee Smith, the message was viewed more than 70,000 times and had a 10% click-through-rate, which is double what advertisers usually aim for.

The campaign was one of 21 that were recognised by NACCHO in 2020 for being an innovative way to respond to a public health need.

Dr. Smith explained: “While we initially saw an increase in the number of cases diagnosed, and that may initially appear counter-intuitive, it was that we were looking more, we were keeping the conversation going and making entry into areas of the community where we had no opportunity to do so previously.

“I want to thank […] especially the individuals at Grindr who saw this as an opportunity to have a partnership for educational and public health reasons.”

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