|Young People and HIV|
A Changing Epidemic Calls For A Realistic Approach To Prevention
Young people in the United States continue to be at risk for HIV and AIDS. At the end of 2008, in 37 states and five U.S. dependent areas with confidential name-based HIV infection surveillance, 25,036 young people ages 13-24 were living with HIV, comprising sixteen percent of persons aged 13-24 at diagnosis.  But experts believe young people may suffer from up to 30 percent of all cases of HIV in the United States.  Youth of color and young men who have sex with men continue to be most at risk. It is important to promote programs that help young people lessen risky sexual behaviors by encouraging condom use, delay in sexual initiation, partner reduction, and early HIV testing and treatment. But research has shown that even when risk factors are equal, minority youth are more at risk for HIV. As such it is essential that research and resources be directed toward addressing the underlying social forces that contribute to these disparities and that policies and programs promote structural and social changes to ameliorate these factors.
HIV among Young PeoPle 13-24 In tHe unIted StateS: RacIal and Sexual mInoRItY YoutH aRe at gReatlY dISPRoPoRtIonate RISk
Sexual RISk BeHaVIoRS Put manY Young PeoPle In dangeR
FactoRS WHIcH contRIBute to unequal RISk FoR HIV/aIdS
eFFectIVe StRategIeS FoR HIV PReVentIon among Young PeoPle
No single strategy will work to reduce HIV/AIDS infection among young people. However, research has shown that culturally competent, honest programs, that include information about abstinence, contraception, and condoms, can be effective in helping youth reduce risk behaviors.[28,29] In addition, open and honest parent-child communication about HIV and its prevention can aid youth in making good decisions.[30,31] Finally, resources must be directed at understanding the epidemic’s impact on youth; at remedying the socioeconomic disparities which contribute to the epidemic; and at developing and testing a vaccine.
Written by Jennifer Augustine, MPH, Division Director, Health and Social Equity
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