Brazil: World STI & HIV Congress Discusses Technology, Apps, and a Gayer Agenda

The STI & HIV World Congress in Rio de Janeiro was an opportunity for over 1200 attendees to better understand how gay social networking apps can have a positive impact on the health and wellness of gay men around the world. Alex Garner, the Senior Health Innovation Strategist at Hornet, delivered a plenary entitled, “Know Your Status: How We Can Harness the Power of Gay Social Networking Apps to Educate and Empower around HIV/STI Prevention.” The 30 minutes presentation detailed the various ways the app functions and demonstrated the potential for better engaging the community around gay men’s health.

Garner skillfully detailed the various ways mobile technology can engage gay men around health messaging and campaigns. He explained Hornet’s Know Your Status (KYS) feature that allows gay men to openly express their HIV status within the app. The act of affirmatively declaring one’s HIV status can be particularly empowering for HIV-positive individuals. In fact, KYS allows HIV-positive users to find other HIV-positive guys on the app. This simple search function, Garner explained, serves to combat the isolation experienced by many people living with HIV. It’s one thing to know you aren’t the only HIV-positive person in the world. It’s another thing entirely to realize you aren’t the only HIV-positive person on your block.

Garner described the community impact of health initiatives on apps when he delved into the partnership between Hornet, the Health Ministry of Brazil, UNAIDS and UNESCO. Read more via HuffPost