Often, she said, the sex is virtually “anonymous” because the partners may not even know each other’s last names.“People are meeting and hooking up with social media.
They’ll meet up and have casual, anonymous sex, and then they’ll never see them again,” she said.
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“If you’re using Grindr or Snapchat or Tinder and you end up hooking up, your risk is higher because you may ask them (their HIV status) and they may lie.”AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist does not collect information on whether clients met sex partners through social media, but Hopper said dating apps have become a frequent topic of discussion when the agency conducts education sessions for youth.
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AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist of Northern Indiana, one of the chief area nonprofits that offers services for people with HIV in a six-county area, recorded 11 new positive tests through June this year, surpassing the total of nine new positive tests through all of 2015.
Of those new HIV patients, 60 percent were younger than age 30.“The thing we’re seeing the most is young people being HIV positive, with most being diagnosed through sex,” said Leeah Hopper, the agency’s director. Joseph County alone recorded 17 new HIV cases through June of this year, putting it on pace to surpass the 19 new cases for all of 2015, according to statistics from the Indiana State Department of Health.
She said numbers of HIV diagnoses often vary from year to year, and the reasons behind increases can be difficult to pinpoint.
However, Murawski attributed the rise this year in part to a growing “hookup” culture among young people who meet via apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Snapchat and arrange one-time sexual encounters.