A new two-year study by the United Nations has revealed that mobile dating apps have led to a spike in HIV infections among teenagers in Southeast Asia. The report found a link between the use of smartphone dating apps for casual sex and a sudden rise in HIV infections among 10-19 year old in the Asia-Pacific region, where over half of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescents live. The trend is most noticeable among young gay men, as Wing-Sie Cheng, HIV/Aids adviser for Unicef in east Asia and the Pacific explains: “Young gay men themselves have consistently told us that they are now using mobile dating apps to meet up for sex, and are having more casual sex with more people as a result. We know that this kind of risky behaviour increases the spread of HIV.” With global rates of HIV infections falling, thanks in part to a sharp drop in Africa in the last 15 years, it was thought that the U.N.’s goal to end the global AIDS crisis by 2030 was achievable. This new epidemic might now be threatening this goal, as the official number of adolescents living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific is over 220,000, and Unicef expects unofficial numbers to be much higher. Moreover, these adolescents are more likely to die of AIDS-related deaths according to researchers, as they are less inclined to seek treatment, out of fear of being stigmatised or having to expose their sexuality to their family or authorities.
Read the full story at The Guardian.