With World AIDS Day 2015 only one day away on Dec. 1, the United Nations has released an official study that reports an escalation of HIV among 10- to 19-year-olds in the Asia-Pacific region (which, as the Guardian notes, make up 1.2 billion of the world's population) — and suggests that mobile dating apps may contribute in large part to the rate on the rise.
Conducted over the course of two years, the study indicates that the app is not to blame for the spread per se, but is rather a tool that teenagers use to fuel the accessibility of hookup culture and create a social network that can enable risky behaviors and a clear idea of consequences. In light of these results, the UN urged dating apps to help educate users about the dangers of HIV and how it is contracted.
"We are ... convinced that there is a link, and that we need to work better with mobile app providers to share information about HIV and protect the health of adolescents," said Unicef's Wing-Sie Chen, the HIV/AIDS adviser in the east Asia and Pacific areas.
However, there is a glimmer of hope: the study also finds that a major uptick in AIDS and HIV treatment on a global scale, as well as an implementation of a "fast-track approach" in countries devastated the most by the epidemic.
"Expanding sustainable access to treatment is essential, but we will not treat ourselves out of the AIDS epidemic," said Professor Peter Piot, who was the lead author of the study, in an official statement released by the UN. "We must also reinvigorate HIV prevention efforts, particularly among populations at highest risk, while removing legal and societal discrimination."
Photo: Global Panorama | Flickr