In Asia-Pacific countries, Brown says that "young gay men tell us that their access to casual sex has increased enormously since the launch of the dating apps, and that sex arranged via apps tends to be spontaneous and more risky." But it's complicated.
A 2015 study of gay men, app use, and sexual risk in China came up with inconclusive results.
"It is difficult to generalize our results to other countries," Los Angeles LGBT Center epidemiologist and lead author Matthew Beymer told The Verge.
He also noted that the study found no relationship between HIV risk and app use.
Given these caveats, it's a non sequitur in this report, serving only to drive home the idea that dating apps are dangerous.
"What we are saying is that the increase in use of mobile dating apps has helped create an ‘enabling environment' for risky sexual behavior, and that this could be a contributing factor in new HIV infections." There's quite a gap between this statement — based, says Brown, on substantial but anecdotal reports from advocacy groups and young gay men — and an outright claim that dating apps are increasing HIV transmission.
Suggesting that apps are "a major factor in a new HIV epidemic" or "a key reason for an increase in HIV infections," or that they "helped foster a teen HIV epidemic," is hugely premature.