The changing social landscape brought on by new technology has helped create a ‘hidden epidemic’ of HIV among adolescents in the Asia-Pacific region.
Even celebrities have chimed in on the popularity of these apps.
"Today, if you own a smartphone, you're carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket," wrote American actor and comedian Aziz Ansari in an essay for Time Magazine.
BANGKOK, Thailand, 1 December 2015 – Nest is a 19-year-old living in Bangkok.
Like many other gay adolescents, he uses mobile apps to meet up for dates. “I don’t like to have sex at the first meeting, I prefer to chat and get to know the person first.
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.Having entered Indonesia in October 2015, Spotted is now eyeing Malaysia and Thailand as its next two Southeast Asian markets, its optimistic outlook fuelled by its US.5-million (RM62.6 million) Series A round in August 2015.That investment round, which involved Media Ventures, Wolfman Holdings, and a Deutsche Balaton affiliate based in Heidelberg, Germany, brought Spotted’s total funding to US.3 million to date.For instance, if you met someone in a café and are interested in them, Spotted will help you meet up with them again.According to Sierek, Spotted currently has one million users across the world, with its app being downloaded 10,000 times daily.But some of my friends just meet up for sex.” Nest (right) and friend Jesse look at gay dating apps on a smart phone, in Bangkok, Thailand.