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Dating app blamed for HIV surge

Grindr, a men-only dating app used for casual sexual encounters, is one of the factors fuelling the record surge in new HIV cases this year, according to Mater Dei Hospital’s infection specialist.

Forty-six new HIV cases were registered in the first nine months of this year – three more than all of 2014 – and 90 per cent of these were gay men, mainly aged between 30 and 50.

“People are having unprotected casual sex, and these geosocial apps, where you can seek an anonymous partner close by… are contributing to it. This is a phenomenon being witnessed across Europe and the US,” Dr Charles Mallia Azzopardi said.

Complacency coupled with the attitude that “condoms are out of fashion” because they negated pleasure were also to blame, according to the consultant, who cares for those living with HIV.

The men who fell victim to this virus this year were split equally between Maltese and foreigners. The latter were mainly Europeans. The health promotion department is to acquire a new mobile sexual health unit to target localities popular with young adults, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Chis Fearne said.

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