Today is National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). Today’s generation of youth has never known a world free of HIV and AIDS and they bear a significant burden of the epidemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, youth accounted for 26 percent of new HIV infections in spite of only representing 17 percent of the population. Approximately 50 percent of youth infected with HIV are unaware of their positive status. In comparison, among all HIV positive individuals in the U.S., approximately 14 percent are unaware of their status.
In the United States, one in four new HIV infections per year occurs among youth. Black and Latino youth remain disparately affected compared to youth of other races/ethnicities. According to the CDC, 20 percent of new infections occurred among Latino youth in 2010.
There are a variety of factors that may influence the risk Latino youth face for contracting HIV. These include but are not limited to: low perception of risk, limited opportunities for accessing comprehensive sexual education; cultural and linguistic barriers which deter engaging in preventive treatment and care; lack of health insurance; poverty; higher reported rates of STIs; stigma and discrimination.
Advocates for Youth established NYHAAD in 2013 to increase awareness of the impact HIV/AIDS has on young individuals, and to promote intergenerational dialogue and collaboration in the campaign to achieve an AIDS-Free generation. The theme for this year is “Engaging Youth Voices in the Responses to HIV & AIDS”.
Farmworker Justice encourages our partners, supporters and friends to join us in recognizing National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day by: learning more about the epidemic and knowing the facts; becoming involved in efforts to raise awareness; engaging in open and honest conversation with family, partner and friends; and getting tested.