Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Location, location: mobile dating apps and HIV

Nest (right) and friend Jesse look at gay dating apps on a smart phone
© UNICEF EAPRO/2015/Andy Brown
Nest is a 19-year-old living in Bangkok. Like many other gay adolescents, he uses mobile apps to meet up for dates. “I use apps to meet other guys nearby,” he says. “I don’t like to have sex at the first meeting, I prefer to chat and get to know the person first. But some of my friends just meet up for sex.”

A new report, Adolescents: Under the Radar in the Asia-Pacific AIDS Response, shows that the Asia-Pacific region is facing a ‘hidden epidemic’ of HIV among adolescents. Although new HIV infections are falling overall, they are rising among teenagers. In 2014, there were at least 220,000 adolescents aged 10-19 living with HIV in the region, with major cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong hubs of new infections.