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Hookup apps may be linked to HIV epidemic in Asia

Tue 8 Dec 2015 In: International News View at Wayback View at NDHA

New UN research has found a correlation between dating apps used by young gay men and a growing HIV infection rate among teenagers in Asia.   The study was conducted over a two year period and found that men who have sex with men are having more spontaneous casual sex as a result of using dating apps, than any other group. The epidemic threatens the UN’s Sustainable Development goal of ending the global AIDS crisis by 2030. Young gay men in Bangkok have a one in three chance of contracting HIV and new HIV infections among teenagers in the Philippines have doubled in the past four years. Shaun Robinson of NZAF says apps “amplify people’s behaviour because of how many others they can have contact with. “For those who don’t know much about HIV, aren’t out, or are not taking steps to make themselves safe, using the on-line space will amplify their risk.” He says organisation is not concerned about dating apps as such, highlighting the need to use the apps to reach out to people and support them to have great, safe sex. “The Love Your Condom programme advertises extensively on hook ups sites and gets free advertising form several apps and we have also used these apps to promote testing." Robinson says: “On-line hook up Apps and sites definitely drive the number of sexual partners guys can have. This is fine if they are using condoms, however, there is evidence that men who meet their sex partners on line have a significantly higher likelihood of having HIV. "There are likely to be several reasons for this vulnerability: “People can find a large number of partners on-line and the digital space is easier for guys who may be on the down low about their sexuality and not connected to the safe sex culture to find partners,” says Robinson. “On the other side of the equation hook up apps provide a great communication tool for promoting safe sex and reaching large numbers of gay and bisexual men.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 8th December 2015 - 1:39pm

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