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Sex & Dating

Bad News for Grindr

Bad News for Grindr


Why a fantasy site like BarebackRT appeals to some poz guys.

After a California man was charged with knowingly infecting another man with HIV late last year, the judge in the case ordered him to stay off Grindr (where he met his alleged victim) and other Internet hookup sites. We couldn’t help but think that if he’d gone first to a dating site aimed at HIV-positive folks, like Volttage or PozSingles, this would all be for naught.

And then there’s BarebackRT, the world’s largest online hookup site for gay men who prefer not to use condoms, many of the members are HIV-positive. The site was founded 11 years ago by an HIV-positive guy (he remains anonymous but goes by the moniker Pigmaster) who wanted a place for poz guys to be out and open about both their status and their sexual desires. He told Positive Lite last year that he “started the site out of frustration that when dealing with other websites when you filled in your status as HIV, people were freaked out, even the people who were HIV-positive. People who were HIV-positive still wouldn’t talk to you because they didn’t want you to know their status. It just got very frustrating.”

In the beginning, BarebackRT “was mainly for positive people to meet other positive people; in the positive community there is a lot of barebacking; there are negative people too, though, who do come to the website — we have some that put down that they use condoms but they just like our website,” he said.

Now the mix of members is changing, with negative men on PrEP and more poz guys on treatment that has given them an undetectable viral load and therefore little chance of transmitting the virus. 

“The negative people actually have a more informed choice because there is no guessing,” Pigmaster said. “They would like to meet people who are undetectable.”

A bonus: The dating site has a social mission — in 2013 it donated almost $60,000 to HIV and LGBT equality causes.

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Jacob Anderson-Minshall