“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.
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.
A new report – Adolescents: Under the Radar in the Asia-Pacific AIDS Response – published by the Asia-Pacific Inter-Agency Task Team on Young Key Populations, which includes UNICEF, UNAIDS and others, shows that the Asia-Pacific region is facing a ‘hidden epidemic’ of HIV among adolescents.
Although new HIV infections are falling overall, they are rising among teenagers.
“Instead of going to gay bars and saunas, people also meet using mobile apps like Grindr and Jack’d,” he says.