Jack West was born and raised in North Bergen, New Jersey. He's 36 years old and works as an accountant's assistant. He lives with his parents, his sister and his aunt.
West was born with a congenital birth defect known as agenesis of the ulna and radius. "In laymen's terms it means abnormal developments of the upper extremities," says West. His arms are cut off at the elbow. He has three fingers on his right hand and two fingers on his left.
Beginning at 18 months old, West had reparative surgeries every year. "I had 26 surgeries in total," he says. "The goal was to achieve functionality rather than normalcy." Unfortunately, the surgeries didn't work. At 12 years old, West refused to return to the hospital, and the doctors said there wasn't much else they could do.
In spite of this, West can still drive, text message, and lift weights. "It doesn't affect me much," he says. "It's like the tattoos I have. I don't really think about them."
In 2004, West was diagnosed with HIV. Having always practiced unsafe sex, West says he wasn't surprised when he was diagnosed. He says his self-esteem was so low that he was too scared to ask his partners to wear a condom. "At the risk of getting rejected and the guy saying, 'Well, then, if you don't wanna bareback, I'm not gonna fuck you,' I would never insist. I'd just be like, 'OK, whatever.'"
West uses Grindr and other dating applications to pursue hookups and relationships. He says dating applications help him disclose his status as HIV-positive because he can "come out" as positive in his profile. "It's out there before you're out there," he says.
Unlike many people, who view Grindr as an application meant for hookups, West believes you can find love online. "Love is my Everest."
Can West find love online? Watch "Looking for Love on Grindr."