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Real conversations of Grindr
Real-life exchanges between people on gay dating app Grindr are at the centre of a powerful new awareness campaign spotlighting HIV stigma and its effects on the LGBTI+ community.
An initiative of the HIV Foundation Queensland (HIVFQ) in partnership with Queensland Positive People (QPP), the Real Conversations of Grindr campaign, launched yesterday, seeks to spotlight that HIV-related stigma actually comes from within the LGBTI+ community.
“The Real Conversations of Grindr 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,” said HIVFQ CEO Tony Majer. “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."
In 2017, approximately 25,000 Australians are living with HIV — around 70 percent of which are gay men and other men who have sex with men. "It’s alarming that so much of the stigma is pedalled from within this very community,” said Majer. Such widespread stigma has dangerous effects. “Stigma is a barrier to people getting tested and seeking treatment and can potentially be more damaging than the virus itself,” he said.
QPP Executive Officer Simon O’Connor echoed these sentiments: “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 (PLHIV),” said O'Connor. “Unrelenting stigma can cause PLHIV to internalise the community’s detrimental perceptions of HIV, which can result in trauma, isolation and psychological impacts. For HIV stigma to be decreased, it will take a noticeable improvement in community attitudes towards PLHIV.”