17 Apr National HIV and AIDS Youth Awareness Day 2016
On April 10th of each year we highlight the work that youth advocates are doing to educate their communities about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people. The day serves as a reminder that investing in young people’s health and education is a critical step to achieving an AIDS-free generation.
In the U.S. one in four new HIV infections occurs in youth ages 13 to 24 years. About 60% of all youth with HIV do not know they are infected, are not getting treated, and can unknowingly pass the virus to others. Around the globe, 5 million young people are living with HIV. And with 41 percent of new HIV infections occurring among young people–every 30 seconds, another young person becomes HIV-positive.
Despite the disproportionate number of these new infections occurring among youth, the percentage of youth tested for is low compared to other age groups. Only one in five sexually experienced U.S. high school students has ever been tested for HIV.
Helping young people live healthy and full lives requires the involvement of families, communities, policymakers, schools, and many other sectors of society.
So what can YOU do to help reduce the number of HIV infections in young people?
- Request the test. Make HIV testing part of your teen’s routine medical care by requesting the test from your healthcare provider. The CDC recommends HIV testing at least once and repeated testing annually for those at higher risk.
- Get talking. Young people often cite their parents as the number one influence on their decisions about sex.
- Support and promote education programs that help young people lessen risky sexual behaviors by encouraging condom use, delaying sexual initiation, and encourage early HIV testing and treatment.
- Help end stigma around HIV and HIV testing. Educate yourself and others about how HIV is and is not transmitted.
- Empower the next generation of HIV and AIDS advocates by knowing the facts and supporting Advocates for Youth.