While HIV infection rates have been falling globally in the past 10 years or so, among adolescents in some regions they have been on the rise - prompting fears of a "hidden epidemic". In Asia, according to a recent Unicef report , the epidemic is growing fastest in young gay and bisexual men. And one of the factors behind this trend is thought to be an increase in casual sex with multiple partners, driven by mobile dating apps. Nest is 19 and lives in Bangkok, Thailand.
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Browsing the internet as a young policeman in China, Ma Baoli recalls the sheer volume of web pages telling him he was a pervert, diseased and in need of treatment—simply because he was gay. Two decades later, the softly spoken year-old now helms Blued, one of the world's largest dating platforms for gay men. Parent company BlueCity's sunlit Beijing campus teems with young and casually dressed programmers who hold meetings in rooms named after Oscar Wilde and other prominent LGBTQ figures from around the world. The office boasts rainbow unicorn mascots, gender-neutral toilets and photos of Ma's meetings with dignitaries, including Chinese premier Li Keqiang. Ma's journey to the apex of China's tech industry began in the early s when he began publishing Danlan.
'In the 80s HIV was deemed the gay plague and those with it were treated like scum'
New Channel 4 drama It's A Sin explores the Aids crisis which saw the gay community shunned, feeling hopeless and treated like 'scum' say some of the people who lived through it. They found it easier to brush the lethal syndrome under the carpet and ignore the young men losing their lives. AIDS would cause hundreds of deaths in the UK by the end of the decade and it has now claimed the lives of nearly 33 million worldwide. It took the campaigning of high-profile figures such as Princess Diana to raise awareness of the tragedy.
As medical advances help thousands of people, it would be disastrous to revert to bigoted attitudes in public and the media. T he s are back: not in the form of male pop stars wearing eyeliner, but headlines dripping with stigma. For those who have spent much of their lives campaigning to overcome the stigma of this treatable illness, it is a bleak day. If a celebrity — or anybody else — has HIV, it really is none of our business. And portraying them as a walking biological weapon — carriers of a pestilence that makes them a threat to others — has terrible consequences.