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Mister and Hula team up to encourage HIV testing

Recent US study shows 1 in 10 men using dating apps have never had an HIV test

The Mister and Hula apps have joined forces to encourage Mister users to get tested for HIV. Credit: MISTER

Gay social app Mister is partnering with Hula, an app that provides information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), on an HIV education campaign.

The effort will start with a network-wide blast to Mister members to provide details of local testing centres and encourage its users to learn their status.

“We’re in a position to help educate the community and we should use it,” says Carl Sandler, CEO of Mister. “The gay mobile app has become one of the primary ways gay men, particularly younger gay men, connect with one another. We need to do all we can to make sure that they are making informed choices about their partners and their health.”

Sandler says the decision to partner with Hula came after a recent report by the US Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training showed that as many as one in 10 men using a similar mobile app to meet other men had never had an HIV test.

One third of those who had never tested admitted they routinely told their partners that they were HIV-negative. Another third of the never-tested said they’d had sex without condoms.

“[Partnering with Mister] gives us the chance to reach a large swath of the millions of gay men active on mobile apps, help them find out their HIV status, and encourage them to initiate more informed discussions about sex,” says Ramin Bastani, founder and CEO of Hula.

The Hula app provides users with the location (US only) of local, community-rated testing centres and empowers users to securely display verified information about their last testing date and results.

Sandler is scheduled to speak on the connection between mobile networking and HIV at the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok this November.