The global HIV epidemic continues to have a severe impact on the LGBTQ community. Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected, and new infections among them continue to increase. Hornet has always taken the need for HIV testing, treatment and prevention seriously. As the world’s premier gay social network, the app has long strived to be the frontrunner on such issues, and in 2018 Hornet celebrates six years of its “Know Your Status” (KYS) initiative, aimed at promoting knowledge of one’s HIV status and a reminder to test frequently and engage in care.
Back in October 2011, Hornet was the first app to unveil such an initiative, prompting users to voluntarily enroll in the campaign and declare their status recent testing activity in their profile. Users will then be reminded to test if HIV-negative or engage in care if HIV-positive. This feature goes beyond prevention and helps HIV-positive men actively engage with their care and fosters a community affirming to all HIV statuses.
Furthermore, unlike any other gay apps at the time, Hornet relied on an HTTPS secure connection and SSL certificates — similar to what’s found in online banking — to ensure the security and safety of its users is never compromised.
In 2014, the KYS feature was updated to allow users to easily locate nearby testing centers and schedule exams in the United States, Philippines, Thailand and Brazil.
Hornet’s “Know Your Status” feature, now available to more than 25 million users worldwide in 27 languages, “aims to reduce stigma and increase knowledge of PrEP and the benefits of viral suppression,” mentions this 2017 report by UNAIDS.
This initiative is but one of the many ways Hornet has dedicated itself to the health and wellness of the LGBTQ community. The company’s Senior Health Innovation Strategist, Alex Garner, works to continually uncover innovative ways Hornet can assist users in making informed decisions about their personal and sexual health.
Hornet recently released its Ask A Pro video series, which features health experts answering common sexual health questions of concern to gay men. The series is available in English, Spanish, Chinese and French.
HIV stigma has a profound impact on the community, and Hornet has integrated the lived experience of HIV, as well as PrEP use, into its marketing campaigns to combat stigma and uplift men of all statuses. Hornet has conducted PrEP research around the globe, in collaboration with ECDC and UNAIDS.
In response to the limited information about PrEP in Brazil, Hornet launched a PrEP awareness campaign to help inform gay men about this new prevention option. Recent research included MSM population size estimates conducted in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, amfAR, Emory University and MSMGF.
Hornet also partnered with Positive Living Association in Turkey to recruit men for HIV testing and to help demonstrate the severe impact of HIV among MSM in Istanbul.
Furthermore, Hornet founder Sean Howell is on the board of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins and is one of the founding members of the UN Coalition for HIV Prevention, which consists of 50 members, 14 heads of state and himself. He has worked in collaboration with ECDC, UNAIDS, Health Ministry of Brazil, MSMGF and others to ensure gay men have access to the latest HIV treatment and prevention information and options.
Hornet has long placed the importance of gay men’s sexual health at the forefront of its mission to create the world’s best gay social network and to facilitate a digital home for men seeking meaningful connections. Hornet’s work on HIV testing, prevention and status awareness will continue to remain one of its highest priorities.