The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly a half a million dollars studying gay hookup apps such as Grindr.

The government awarded $432,000 to Columbia University to interview gay men who use GPS dating apps and determine whether it increases their likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior.

“Smartphone technologies have provided a new venue for sexual partnering among men who have sex with men (MSM),” the grant for the project states. “Indeed, there are a rapidly growing number of smartphone applications designed to facilitate sexual partnering among MSM.”

The project argues that dating apps that use the Global Positioning System, or GPS, has “accelerated” the rate that gay men can find sexual partners, compared to online.

“Furthermore, given the expediency with which men are able to arrange sexual encounters using these applications, there is cause to question if, when, and how sexual negotiation and serostatus disclosure occurs,” the grant said. “The overall study goal is to understand how sexual risk behaviors among MSM may be facilitated by the nature of GPS-enabled smartphone applications, the way they are used, and the process by which sexual partnering occurs via smartphone applications.”

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