More than 30 years after the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, young people are again taking dangerous risks with their lives, according to a new report from the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention.
Young gay and bisexual men, along with African Americans, are disproportionately affected by HIV, says a new report by the CDC. About 72% of new HIV infections in this age group occur in men who have sex with men, and 57% occur among African Americans.
About 1,000 young people ages 13 to 24 are newly infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, each month, according to new data released for the first time.
About 60% of HIV-positive young people have no idea that they’re infected, according to a new CDC report.
The upswing is driven largely by infections among young black men, who accounted for about 45 percent of new diagnoses in this age group.
According to the new CDC report, which interviewed high school students, young men who have sex with men are more likely than others to have had four or more sex partners and to have injected drugs. Among sexually active students, young gay or bisexual men were more likely to have used alcohol or drugs before their last sexual experience and were less likely to have used a condom. Young gay and bisexual men were less likely, however, to report being taught about AIDS or HIV in school, according to the CDC.
What’s does the CDC say is needed to reverse the trend?
More testing for starters. Right now, only 13 percent of high school students get screened for HIV each year, despite the fact that both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend routine testing for adolescents.
It’s also important that HIV-positive adolescents get antiretroviral drug treatment, which can lower their risk of spreading the virus to others.
Finally, the CDC plans to beef up education for kids about ways to protect themselves and avoid risky behavior.