Joseph County and the surrounding area have reported a modest but noticeable rise in new patients living with the virus, driven by people younger than age 30 who contracted the disease through unprotected sex.
AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist of Northern Indiana, one of the chief area nonprofits that offers services for people with HIV in a six-county area, recorded 11 new positive tests through June this year, surpassing the total of nine new positive tests through all of 2015.
And only 10 percent had been tested for HIV, the study found.
At the same time, Murawski said, it’s also possible that the local increase in HIV cases could stem from greater awareness and testing.
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According to findings from independent Norwegian research group SINTEF, the app has been sharing the profile data with Apptimize and Localytics, platforms hired by Grindr to help optimize the app.
The 2015 outbreak in Scott County was traced to injection drug abuse by users of the painkiller Opana.Under the "HIV status" category on Grindr, users can list themselves as negative, positive, positive and undergoing HIV treatment or negative on Pr Ep, a once-a-day pill found to prevent the transmission of HIV.The news comes after a recent scandal found that unauthorized data from millions of Facebook users was given to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica through one of Facebook's outside app developers.Some experts have suggested younger people, especially those in the Millennial generation born between 1980 and the early 2000s, also may lack awareness about the risk of HIV and safe sex practices because they did not live through the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.They now see HIV as more of a chronic nuisance than a deadly illness.They’ll meet up and have casual, anonymous sex, and then they’ll never see them again,” she said.“If you’re using Grindr or Snapchat or Tinder and you end up hooking up, your risk is higher because you may ask them (their HIV status) and they may lie.”AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist does not collect information on whether clients met sex partners through social media, but Hopper said dating apps have become a frequent topic of discussion when the agency conducts education sessions for youth.Melissa Murawski, a disease intervention specialist who helps the state collect data on new HIV cases, said she has noticed a slight increase in the Michiana area but did not have statistics.She said numbers of HIV diagnoses often vary from year to year, and the reasons behind increases can be difficult to pinpoint.Though some local officials have raised concerns that the heroin problem could put the area at risk for its own outbreak, statistics so far have offered little evidence the drugs are a major factor in Michiana’s new HIV cases.Hopper said statistics were not immediately available this week on the number of new clients who reported drug use as the source of their HIV diagnosis.