Tinder has been in hot water recently surrounding studies that suggest the app has contributed to an uptick in the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. According to a Reuters report, the decision comes after a long battle between the dating app company and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the nation’s leading sexual health advocacy nonprofit groups.
Tinder and the AHF have been feuding for more than a year about the app’s role in the spread of STDs. The AHF posted billboards in Los Angeles and New York linking the app to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Tinder, a subsidiary of Match Group Inc and owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, delivered a cease and desist letter to the AHF after the billboards went up. The app allows users to find nearby single people looking to connect, and has been linked to a rise in STD transmission by numerous studies, including a landmark report from the CDC in 2014.
Tinder apparently wanted to distance their name from the notion that STDs can be spread through casual hookups, but the AHF stood firm in their assertion that the company had a responsibility to address this issue.
According to Whitney Engeran Cordova, a senior director at the AHF, “We are unfortunately now waging an uphill battle on this front. The CDC also noted the majority of these infections are affecting young people – the demographic that is on their mobile phones all day long.”
By adding an STD test locator to the Tinder app, the company will remind users that the transmission of diseases is a real concern and shouldn’t be taken lightly. By ignoring the issue, Tinder was facilitating people getting together in an extremely casual fashion, where tough conversations like the one about STD prevention are likely to be ignored.
According to a statement from Tinder, “An important aspect of any healthy relationship – whether formed on Tinder or otherwise – is ensuring sexual health and safety. While the CDC, who conducted the largest and most credible study on the topic, has never identified any connection that supports the idea that Tinder usage correlates with, let alone causes, an increase in STDs, we’re of course in favor of organizations that provide public education resources on the topic.”
Healthvana will make a free STD locator available on Tinder’s website, which can be found under the health and safety section on their FAQ page. The move marks a great leap forward in sexual health awareness, and will hopefully help people find the resources they need to stay healthy.