“I’ve never hidden it, and I didn’t have any trouble at school – most of my friends are gay or transgender, and my teachers liked me because I worked hard.My mum wasn’t happy at first, but she’s come to accept it.” Nest met his first boyfriend online in 2010 when he was 14, through a video chatting site.
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.
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.
By connecting adolescents to a larger network of potential sexual partners, the apps also enable any HIV infections to spread further and faster.