Sex & Dating

Is it time to have HIV filters in all Dating apps?

Too much or necessary?

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jul 5, 2022

Just the other day I met a girl who has profiles on 6 different dating apps. As someone who didn’t enjoy small talk and dating in general, her friends challenged her to get on the apps for a month straight. So like all things, she consulted her Instagram following for the top app to join.


As luck would have it, 6 apps were the most popular, so she figured if she was going to start dating, she might as well go all in. Anxious to meet her matches IRL during the pandemic, she screened each date with vaccine and COVID questions — hopeful that all the dates she agreed to were safe and comfortable.


It got me thinking, all you really can do is ask the person these questions and hope they are not lying to you. I guess if you wanted to really know, you could ask for proof, but that type of intense energy might scare someone away. Who knows. But now, a study makes the case to take it a step further, with HIV filters and all.


Dating apps have many filters these days – sex, height, religion, ethnicity, and so much more. Years ago, Grindr, the popular LGBTQ+ social networking app, wanted to know if they should create a new filter, the HIV filter.


“How would you feel if Grindr allowed you to filter the guys you see by HIV status?” it asked its users. The buzzy app was immediately met with backlash and a breach of privacy. So naturally, the senior team had to release a statement that read: “We have observed a significant increase in user profiles openly discussing their HIV status and test dates. Given that this has not been a part of our profile options to date, we are surveying users to determine both their desire to share this information, and ways to prevent stigma and provide proper support,” the statement said. “Sometimes this involves asking uncomfortable questions.”


Essentially, users were outraged because if it did happen, there would be no way to protect the people who disclose they are positive. They were calling it a digital quarantine and harassment for people who are HIV-positive, who are already severely othered. It could also create an environment for awkward or stigmatizing conversations — creating a harsh reality and fake security. It would turn a lot of users away from the app and could potentially have people withholding the truth in order to get partners and avoid discrimination. Because the backlash was so severe, Grindr ultimately decided not to go through with the filter.


Years later, the question still remains: Should dating apps have HIV filters or any other STD filters? What are your thoughts on this filter hitting dating apps?


Here are some dating sites designed specifically to help those with HIV.


If ghosting is your top concern when it comes to dating, check out these dating apps with anti-ghosting features.