Adolescents and HIV
Almost 30 years since the dawn of HIV and AIDS, it remains one of the most serious challenges to public health in the United States. Many young people are at risk, with unprotected sex, poverty, homophobia, and racism all playing major roles in the epidemic.
- Twenty-five thousand youth ages 13-24 are living with HIV, and the CDC estimates that one third of all new infections are among people ages 13-29.
- Young people of color are at high risk. African Americans/blacks and Latinos/ Hispanics accounted for 87 percent of all new HIV infections among 13- to 19-year-olds even though they represent only about 32 percent of people those ages.
- Young men who have sex with men are at high risk: over 80 percent of HIV/AIDS cases among young men ages 13-19 are attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.
Quality sex education and HIV prevention programs can help young people prevent HIV: ones that are honest, culturally competent, and include information about abstinence as well as condoms and contraception. But in order to truly combat the HIV epidemic, we must also address the societal forces that underlie it. Ending stigma and making sure everyone has access to the health care they need are vital to ending HIV.
Learn more about the HIV and young people:
Young People and HIV (Advocates for Youth)
HIV in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
TheBody.com Information about HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention