Asia-Pacific’s alarming AIDS rise

There are now 220,000 adolescents living with HIV in the Asia-Pacific region, with large cities the hubs of new infections. Risky behaviour is on the rise, and policymakers need to address the problem, Wing-Sie Cheng Regional Adviser, HIV and AIDS with UNICEF, covering East Asia and the Pacific writes.

At a time when we are tantalisingly close to ending the global HIV and AIDS epidemic, a new trend gives cause for concern. Although new AIDS-related deaths are falling in most countries, they are rising among certain groups of adolescents in Asia-Pacific. The rise in new infections coincides with an increase in risky behaviour, such as multiple sexual partners and inconsistent condom use.

These trends are not limited to Asia-Pacific. In parts of Africa, AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adolescents. In Asia-Pacific, the epidemic is growing fastest among young gay and bisexual men, and the rise of mobile dating or hook-up apps play a role as enablers of risky behaviour. Gay men are now using mobile dating apps to meet up for sex and are having more casual sex with more people with the convenience of geographic tracing of the nearest sexual interest.  Read more via Policy Forum