Press Release: New National HIV/AIDS Strategy Prioritizes Sex Education and Reducing Health Disparities

Advocates for Youth applauds the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy on the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), released today. Advocates is thrilled to have played a small role in helping to prioritize youth, especially young gay and bisexual men in this new strategy, including a call for age-appropriate education for all Americans before they begin engaging in HIV risk-taking behaviors.

The updated strategy moves the country forward with a renewed commitment to addressing the HIV and AIDS epidemic by 2020 by implementing a coordinated plan that includes a vision for the U.S. to “become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.”

With feedback from youth activists around the country, Advocates provided input to the updated plan to prioritize young people, particularly young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and YMSM of color, and to push the importance of comprehensive sex education as a tool for HIV education and prevention.

This new plan not only calls for a reduction in new cases but also a laser focus on reducing disparity. Young people, especially YMSM, are at a higher risk of HIV due to factors including lack of information, and access to health care. Among young people living with HIV, fewer than half have been diagnosed.

“Young people have advocated for 30 years for their needs to be prioritized in the HIV and AIDS response. With the release of the new NHAS we know that their voices have been heard. We are excited by the renewed commitment from this Administration to ensure new HIV infections will be rare, ensure that everyone has access to the care they need regardless of circumstances, and to end HIV discrimination and stigma,” said Advocates for Youth President Debra Hauser.nn

The updated Strategy specifically identifies that ”educating young people about HIV before they begin engaging in behaviors that place them at risk for HIV infection should be a priority””and that “young people who are sexually active [should] have the information and tools they need to prevent infections.”

ONAP has shown true vision and leadership in understanding that comprehensive sex education which is inclusive of LGBT young people is a crucial component to removing structural barriers to HIV prevention.


Advocates for Youth is a national non-profit that advocates for policies and champions programs that recognize young people’s rights to: honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth. Advocates’ Youth Activist Network stands 75,000 strong on 1,000 campuses and in tens of thousands of communities.

For Immediate Release 

July 30, 2015


Rachel Cooke