The debate over the billboards might be new, but it’s being fought over familiar ground.To defend its position, the AHF cited arguments people have been making about apps like Tinder more and more: a Rhode Island Department of Health report that attributed a rise in STD cases to social media’s ability to “arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters,” a Los Angeles study that argued that the “sex on demand” enabled by dating apps has made gay men more vulnerable to gonorrhea and chlamydia and, of course, Vanity Fair’s “dating apocalypse” story.Apps make casual, anonymous encounters easier, and it’s almost impossible to find partners again afterward — meaning that it can be harder to track down others who have an STD and help them get treatment, Beltran said.But the links between STD rates and app use in Utah are still anecdotal, Beltran told Boston public radio station WBUR.Two of the faces bear the names of popular dating apps. Tinder user, meet chlamydia, the billboard implies. The dating app sent a cease and desist letter to AHF, the foundation said Monday, demanding an end to the campaign.
In Colorado, public health officials recently announced that they have seen a more than 50 percent increase in syphilis cases this year, nearly entirely in men.When a new patient walks in, “we’ll meet with them and we’ll say, listen, let’s make sure all of your partners get treated so you don’t get re-infected,” Bertrand said.“And let’s get online right now so we can find those partners and send them a message.” In its response to Tinder’s letter, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation argued that “rather than trying to chill AHF’s health message with frivolous lawsuits,” Tinder should add a message to its app urging users to practice safe sex and get tested.“Tinder is in a unique position to promote a message that, while sexual encounters can be fun and exciting, they are potentially risky,” wrote Laura Boudreau, the foundation’s chief counsel for operations.But Grindr argued that it’s already doing just that. “As one of the world’s largest gay platforms, we take this issue very seriously,” Grindr told the Times.