AIDS Concern, the oldest HIV awareness group in Hong Kong, has blamed gay hook-up app Grindr for the highest number of new HIV infections in the former British colony.
In April to June this year there were 131 new cases of HIV in Hong Kong, the most in a quarter since records began in 1984. Of those, 65 were from MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) and 37 with source undetermined.
With a total population of over 7 million in the region, these figures are still relatively low, but China Daily reports that the Department of Health are worried that new infections could exceed 500 this year. And HIV infections are spreading fastest among MSM.
Spokesperson for AIDS Concern, Panda Cheung Yin-mei, told China Daily that Grindr ‘is one of the factors that are contributing to the record high levels of infections’.
More worryingly, Cheung says attempts to engage with Grindr in order to work together to send a safe-sex message through the app have been obstructed by the American company.
‘Grindr is a money-making software,’ says Cheung. ‘They have tightened monitoring of users and they don’t welcome NGOs doing outreach on the Grindr networks. Once they find a phone number is an NGO number, they block the number so the NGO cannot do it again.’
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