Real-life conversations from gay hookup app Grindr are at the centre of a new campaign to call out HIV stigma from within the LGBTI community.
HIV Foundation Queensland partnered with Queensland Positive People (QPP) for the “Real Conversations of Grindr” campaign, which began as a filmed social experiment involving revellers at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s queer arts festival Melt earlier this year.
The campaign’s eye-opening video (below) sheds light on the substantial amount of HIV-related stigma that comes from within the LGBTI community.
“The Real Conversations of Grindr booth at this year’s Melt Festival exposed members of the public to some of the everyday exchanges that take place online, prompting ongoing discourse around the effects these have on members of the community,” HIV Foundation Queensland CEO Tony Majer said.
“The result is a powerful and, at times, confronting exposé of HIV-related stigma, highlighting its prevalence in online forums where anonymity is made easy.
“It’s alarming that so much of the stigma is pedalled from within this very community.”
Mr Majer said in 2017, approximately 25,000 Australians are living with HIV and around 70 per cent of which are gay men and other men who have sex with men.
“HIV stigma is a huge barrier to people getting tested. HIV is most often passed on by those who are unaware they have the virus. By accepting and normalising HIV, you can break down the barriers in place that prevent people from getting tested. Have an open mind and discuss HIV, safe sex and testing,” the Real Conversations of Grindr campaign’s website reads.
“People often live with HIV for several years before they’re diagnosed and this increases the likelihood of passing it on. This is why it’s important to get tested regularly and know your HIV status.”
QPP executive officer Simon O’Connor said HIV-related stigma “can potentially be more damaging than the virus itself.”
“While there have been many incredible medical and scientific advances in HIV, what hasn’t diminished is the stigma around HIV and the negative community attitudes towards people living with HIV,” he said.
“Unrelenting stigma can cause people living with HIV to internalise the community’s detrimental perceptions of HIV, which can result in trauma, isolation and psychological impacts.”
To find out more, visit the Real Conversations of Grindr website here.