Location-based dating app Tinder has added an HIV and STD testing site locator on its website in response to recommendations made by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to raise awareness on such diseases.

In 2015, Tinder and other online dating apps faced scrutiny from the public after health officials alleged that these social media sites may play an important role in helping spread sexually transmitted infections.

The AHF, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness on HIV and STDs, targeted Tinder in particular by putting up billboards and launching advertisements in New York and Los Angeles that associate the popular app with the transmission of gonorrhea and chlamydia among its users.

Tinder promptly sent a "cease and desist" letter to the AHF after the billboards were put up.

A settlement was reached between the two groups that would have Tinder include a Healthvana-linked testing locator on its website to help users have a chance to get checked for possible HIV or STD infection.

For its part, the AHF agreed to take down the billboards and cease its ad campaigns against the dating app.

"Tinder is proud to empower millions of users to create relationships," Jessica Carbino, chief sociologist for Tinder, said. "An important aspect of any healthy relationship - whether formed on Tinder or otherwise - is ensuring sexual health and safety. We'd be delighted to see other major social networks follow in our footsteps in educating the public."

AHF senior director for public health Whitney Engeran Cordova said that their organization has been trying to curb the spread of sexually transmitted infections, which has significantly increased in 2014 according to the CDC.

He explained that the addition of the testing site locator as well as a dedicated Health Safety section on Tinder's website will make it easier for users to have themselves tested for infections. The AHF hopes that other social media dating apps would also implement a similar move.

Healthvana, the patient engagement platform Tinder is using with its testing site locator, said that staying healthy in the current dating world requires getting tested for possible HIV or STD infections regularly, engaging in protected sex and having open and honest conversations regarding disease status.

Healthvana's CEO Ramin Bastani said their service empowers users with necessary health information that they can use to make better choices.

Photo: Nick Page | Flickr

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