Leading gay mobile app takes major steps to raise HIV awareness among its 4 million members
Hornet announces significant enhancements to its “Know Your Status” feature. These include giving users the options to disclose if they are taking PrEP HIV prevention medication or if they are positive and an undetectable viral load. In addition, to help users who are positive Hornet is launching a community for positive men to meet each other. The goal is to meaningfully raise the awareness and education of HIV to those who need it most: the gay men around the world meeting through the app.
HIV infections are rising among gay men, especially younger ones. In the US, 20% of gay and bisexual men are estimated to be living with HIV, yet a recent study found 44% of the men under the age of 35 said they had never been tested for HIV. [Source]
Overseas, the situation is even worse, with many countries ignoring HIV education completely and openly discriminating against gays. Hornet is the most popular gay app in a number of these countries, and the app is not just their only link to other gay guys but now their source of information on HIV.
Hornet CEO, Sean Howell said, “We are committed to looking for ways to eliminate stigma about this disease and to share the latest health facts on preventing HIV and empowering those living with HIV better options for self-expression. With our global reach, we can really make a difference.”
First of the changes are two new options that now appear in the Know Your Status (KYS) section of members’ profiles:
“Positive, Undetectable”. This option is for those who are HIV Positive, on successful Antiretroviral Therapy, and when tested for viral load register undetectable. Studies have shown that this type of treatment can reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to their HIV Negative partners by as much as 96%.
The second new option is “Negative, on PrEP”. A recent survey of gay men in the US found that only 1 in 4 knew about the existence of PrEP, yet it can be greater than 90% effective at preventing HIV infection.
Howell continued, “In planning all of these changes we were shocked when we surveyed a sample of our members about their lack of understanding of either of these options. In fact, nearly all guys told us they had to search online to find out what these meant before they could answer our questions. Having done so, a clear majority felt these new options were important and should be added to the app”.
The interviews conducted with Hornet members underlined the need to explain and educate. The third significant change is that the app now includes comprehensive background on HIV/AIDS, and detailed explanations of all the different KYS profile choices. Recognizing the global reach of the Hornet app, this information is being translated into 26 different languages. Whether Hornet members are in San Francisco, London, Paris, Moscow, São Paulo, Istanbul or Bangkok does not matter – the same information is available to them all.
The fourth new change is the introduction of a much-requested feature to help HIV Positive guys find each other more easily on Hornet. Those members can now filter for other HIV Positive guys. If your status is positive you will now see a filter in the app to show you other guys who are also positive. This filter is only shown to our members who have set one of the two Positive options in the KYS menu.
All of these improvements are in addition to the existing features which include reminders to get tested every 6 months, and the zip code lookup for finding an HIV test center.
Profile Edit Information, with KYS choices, and extra information for those who need it: (download)
In-App Reminders to get tested: (download)
In addition, Hornet added additional information pages helping users to gain information on PreP and to reduce stigma.