Gay adult film star Sean Zevran explains why dating apps shouldn’t ask your HIV status

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There is certainly nothing wrong with someone being public about his or her HIV-status, but by allowing people to identify themselves, at least in part, by this attribute on a public profile, dating apps put pressure on HIV-positive people to out themselves. It’s a tacit promotion of “serosorting,” which is discrimination based on HIV-status. There is the option to leave this field blank and most apps do not allow users to filter members based on HIV-status alone. However for subscribers who choose not to publicly disclose their status, I suspect it will invite suspicion in much the same way it does when users don’t disclose their age, weight, ethnicity or relationship status. Thus it will have the unintended consequence of alienating users who are honest or choose not to publicly disclose their status.

I understand the option to list HIV-status on these apps is a nod toward public health and that is commendable, but I’m skeptical of its efficacy. There’s nothing to stop someone from lying about their HIV-status in their profile, and so those who are actually honest about being HIV-positive will be the ones to suffer. Any user of these apps knows how downright hateful people can be on them, particularly when anonymous. Those who choose to disclose their status could end up enduring unnecessary cruelty. Their honesty will be punished, and I don’t think we will be any better off than before.”— Adult film star Sean Sevran, writing in Paper magazine about why he thinks hookup apps shouldn’t ask members to list their serostatus. 

Derek de Koff

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