Health advocates have cited dating apps as a major cause of The Philippines’ exponential rise in HIV diagnoses.
The number of cases has now officially reached “epidemic levels” for men aged 15-34, nearly doubling between 2013 and 2018.
84% of new patients in the past year are gay or bisexual males, and almost all of them contracted the virus through a sexual encounter.
One man, diagnosed after having unprotected sex with a man he met on Grindr, told The Wall Street Journal: “Young people are on dating apps these days, and they will have sex. We need to equip them with the knowledge and resources that come with it.”
The Philippines is a relatively conservative country, and open discussions about sex, especially in same-sex relationships, are difficult. LoveYourself is a local HIV prevention program that has been trying to bring more treatment to the country for the past few years.
Developments have so far been slow because many believe that the introduction of preventative medicine would encourage more “promiscuous behaviour”.
Facebook Dating was launched in The Philippines at the beginning of May, making it one of the first 20 countries to have access to the much-anticipated dating platform.
Earlier this year, the UK’s National Health Service began handing out free condoms to senior citizens as the number of sexually transmitted infections began to rise. The emergence of senior online dating platforms was thought to be a significant factor.
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