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AIDS Weekly Plus
More Than Half Of Young HIV-infected Americans Are Not Aware Of Their Status
Staff Writer
December 10, 2012


2012 DEC 10 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at AIDS Weekly -- Young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent more than a quarter of new HIV infections each year (26 percent) and most of these youth living with HIV (60 percent) are unaware they are infected, according to a Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most-affected young people are young gay and bisexual men and African-Americans, the report says (see also Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC).

The analysis looks at the latest data on HIV infections, testing, and risk behaviors among young people and was published in advance of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

Overall, an estimated 12,200 new HIV infections occurred in 2010 among young people aged 13-24, with young gay and bisexual men and African-Americans hit harder by HIV than their peers. In 2010, 72 percent of estimated new HIV infections in young people occurred in young men who have sex with men (MSM). By race/ethnicity, 57 percent of estimated new infections in this age group were in African-Americans.

"That so many young people become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "All young people can protect their health, avoid contracting and transmitting the virus, and learn their HIV status."

According to CDC experts, a number of factors contribute to the high levels of HIV in young people and vary by population. HIV prevalence is higher in some communities than in others, which can increase the likelihood that a person will be exposed to infection with each sexual encounter. Previous research has also found that other factors can increase risk of infection, such as higher levels of unrecognized and untreated infection, as well as social and economic factors, such as poverty, lack of access to health care, stigma, and discrimination.

Despite recommendations from CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics that call for routine HIV testing of youth in medical settings, the analysis shows that 35 percent of 18-24 year olds have been tested for HIV, while only 13 percent of high school students (and 22 percent of sexually experienced students) have ever been tested.

Partially as a result of lower testing levels, HIV-infected people under the age of 25 are significantly less likely than those who are older to get and stay in HIV care, and to have their virus controlled at a level that helps them stay healthy and reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to partners.

Keywords for this news article include: HIV/AIDS, RNA Viruses, Retroviridae, HIV Infections, Vertebrate Viruses, Government Agencies, Offices and Entities, Primate Lentiviruses, Viral Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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