Adolescence brings an increase in sexual experimentation, which can have adverse consequences. Research has shown that a large proportion of young people are not concerned about becoming infected with HIV. This lack of awareness can translate into not taking measures that could protect their health.
In celebration of World AIDS Day, taking place on December 1, 2013, we would like to move beyond wearing a red ribbon in support, but also give the opportunity to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action! Find out how much you know by taking an online quiz: Are you HIV aware?
Learn the facts….
Did you know? According to the CDC:
- – In 2009, young persons accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections in the US. For comparison’s sake, persons aged 15–29 comprised 21% of the US population in 2010.
- – Young MSM, especially those of minority races and ethnicities, are at increased risk for HIV infection. In 2009, young MSM accounted for 27% of new HIV infections in the US and 69% of new HIV infections among persons aged 13–29. Among young black MSM, new HIV infections increased 48% from 2006 through 2009.
- – An estimated 8,294 young persons were diagnosed with HIV infection in 2009 in the 40 states with long-term HIV reporting, representing about 20% of the persons diagnosed during that year.
- – In 2009, young blacks accounted for 65% (5,404) of diagnoses of HIV infection reported among persons aged 13–24 years.
Abstaining from sex and drug use is the most effective way to avoid HIV infection, but adolescents need accurate, age-appropriate information about HIV and AIDS, how to reduce or eliminate risk factors, how to talk with a potential partner about risk factors and how to negotiate safer sex, where to get tested for HIV, and how to use a condom correctly.
Try these messages with youth:
- – Encourage testing at least once a year. If you are sexually active and haven’t been tested in the last three months, encourage testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
- – There are many different types of birth control, including abstinence, so make sure to talk to your health care provider about which may be best for you.
Resources for youth and providers:
- – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides leadership in helping control the HIV/AIDS epidemic by working with community, state, national, and international partners in surveillance, research, and prevention and evaluation activities. Find a testing site, statistics, plans and further resources. Their hotline number is: 1.800.342.2437.
- – The National Resource Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Adolescents supports adolescent service providers by providing web-based resources, evidence-based program information, and links to training and technical assistance to help prevent HIV/AIDS among adolescents.