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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.
The epidemic is growing fastest among young gay and bisexual men, and the rise of mobile dating apps is one of the key driving factors.
But some of my friends just meet up for sex.” Nest (right) and friend Jesse look at gay dating apps on a smart phone, in Bangkok, Thailand.
The accessibility of mobile technology and social media has contributed to a rise in new HIV infections among adolescents in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new UNICEF report.
“I was living in Bang Kapi at the time,” he recalls.
Nest sits in the garden of a trendy coffee shop in Ari, where Thai students meet to sip cappuccinos, hang out and play songs on an acoustic guitar.Unlike Internet dating, their precursor, mobile apps are location based – they show other users available in the immediate area, in real time.This can lead to spontaneous sex and risky behaviour.You can search for people by preference, including what kind of sex they’re into.” Nest practices safe sex with people he doesn’t know well, but not with his regular partners.Once, after he accidently cut himself during unsafe sex, he went for an HIV test. “I was very tense, and it took time to build up my courage to get the test.