NPR : News

Filed Under:

HIV Infections Rise Among Young Black Men In U.S.

The latest data on HIV rates in American teenagers and young adults offer a sobering message.

While the number of new infections in the U.S. is relatively stable — at about 50,000 people each year — HIV is on the rise in young people under 25.

Youths age 13 to 24 made up about a quarter of all new HIV infections in the U.S. during 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. And more than half of the youths living with HIV don't even realize they're infected

The bottom line: 1,000 American teenagers and young adults become infected each month with HIV.

"Given everything we know about HIV and how to prevent it after more than 30 years of fighting the disease, it's just unacceptable that young people are becoming infected at such high rates," CDC chief Dr. Thomas Frieden said Tuesday.

The upswing is driven largely by infections among young black men, who accounted for about 45 percent of new diagnoses in this age group.

Most infections occurred in men who have sex with men, the study finds. And, gay and bisexual high school kids were most likely to take part in risky behavior, such as having multiple sexual partners and injecting illegal drugs.

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.

Frieden says 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.

"The AIDS epidemic seems very remote to young people," Dr. Kenneth Mayer, the Director of HIV Prevention at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, told USA Today. "There is no equivalent of a young Magic Johnson. If you are young, this seems like a disease of old people."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'It's A Surviving Tool': 'Native' Tells Satirical Stories Of Life In Israel

NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to author Sayed Kashua, an Israeli-Palestinian whose satirical weekly columns in Haaretz newspaper are collected in his new book called Native.
NPR

What The Heck Is Natural Wine? Here's A Taste

Natural wines can be off-putting at first: perhaps darker than usual, a little fizzy or cloudy. Some find them charming, others unsophisticated. Here's a guide to this trending, quirky style of wine.
NPR

Jim Gilmore, Who Was Campaigning For President, Isn't Anymore

He had the resume — swing-state governor, veteran, ex-party leader — but there's a good chance you had no idea he was running. Judging by vote totals, Iowa and New Hampshire may have missed it too.
NPR

Colonialism Comment Puts Facebook Under Scrutiny

A Facebook board member lambasted a decision by regulators in India, the social network's second-largest market. He thereby sparked new scrutiny of Facebook's intentions in that country.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.