Philippines: How dating apps can ruin lives

THE emergence of dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Hinge, Bumble and Happn, which can be accessed in the relative privacy of one’s smartphone, has given rise to Generation Swipe. We are now in an era where potentially life-changing decisions are made with the sweep of a thumb. With one swipe you can connect with what many may see as their next boyfriend or girlfriend – or a one-night stand. But the utter simplicity of dating apps’ functionality poses not just a relationship hazard but a health hazard as well.

Dating apps that allow people to engage in risky sexual practices is said to be the culprit behind the rise in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the Asia-Pacific region, especially for the young demographic. 

In the Philippines, new HIV infections among 15- to19-year-olds have risen by 50 percent over four years, from an estimated 800 in 2010 to 1,210 in 2014. As with the Department of Health (DoH) report, the UN study showed that the epidemic is spreading fastest among men who have sex with men.

as these dating apps are brutally efficient, the government must also be just as efficient in addressing the compulsive behavior of their users by tailor-fitting HIV prevention policies to cater to the population most at risk of HIV infection.

This includes wider access to condoms by amending the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (or the RH Law), which prohibits individuals under the age of 18 from buying condoms without parental consent.

A more radical approach is for the government to bring its “safe sex” campaign to social media via online advertisements in these dating apps.  Read more via Manila Times