AHF Commends SCRUFF Mobile Dating App for Free STD Testing Ads

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following the explosion of international media attention on a
provocative Los Angeles billboard
launched in September by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
to draw attention to the risk of mobile dating app users contracting
STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia, the organization applauded SCRUFF,
one of the largest location-based dating apps for gay men, for its
statements in support of incorporating STD prevention and treatment
messaging into its popular platform. During an October 2nd
Huffington Post Live webchat
featuring Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director, Public Health
Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, SCRUFF Founding Partner and
Chief Product Officer Jason Marchant said, “We at SCRUFF feel
that we definitely have a social responsibility to do what we can to
make our users informed not only of potential risks but also of the
resources that are available to them, be it for testing, prevention,
treatment or support—be it for HIV or any other STIs.”

SCRUFF, which claims more than 7 million LGBT users worldwide, offers
free, geotargeted in-app advertising for non-profit organizations to
reach the LGBT community through its BenevolAds program, accessed at
ads.scruff.com. “I would invite AHF to sign up for BenovolAds and if
they want to create ads that focus on informing people about the
resources that are available to them we’re happy to run their ads for
free,” offered Marchant during the webchat.

“When other popular mobile dating apps were firing
off legal notices
or moving to shut down our STD prevention
messaging in a knee-jerk reaction to our billboards, SCRUFF is to be
commended for taking the more prudent approach by acknowledging the
importance of encouraging STD prevention and awareness to their millions
of users,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director, Public
Health Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We are pleased that
conversations have begun to discuss how dating apps can be constructive
partners in helping educate and connect their users to sexual health
screening. Regular testing makes hooking up safer, and, hopefully more
enjoyable. There is no shame in knowing your status. Nor should there be
any trepidation or shame in asking someone their status.”

As a catalyst for the billboard campaign (which drives viewers to www.FreeSTDCheck.org),
AHF looked to one study by the Rhode Island Department of Health,
which in May reported
that cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV rose sharply between 2013 and
2014 and said that high-risk behaviors such as “using social media to
arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without
a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the
influence of drugs or alcohol” have become more common in recent years.
According to a study
by Beymer et al. (2014), gay men who are meeting on location-based
dating apps are at greater risk for gonorrhea and chlamydia than those
who meet in-person or on the internet.

In addition, a lengthy September 2015 Vanity Fair article
entitled “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’” explored the
role mobile dating apps are increasingly playing in encouraging casual
sex among young adults.

AHF will soon be expanding the billboard campaign to other cities in the
U.S. and abroad.

AHF’s Wellness Centers provide free testing for sexually transmitted
diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. To find the
nearest location for STD screening and treatment, visit www.freestdcheck.org.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
488,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare


AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Senior
Director, Communications
+1.323.308.1833 work
Associate Director of Communications
+1.310.880.9913 mobile