Tuesday, November 27, 2012


CDC acknowledges need for more and improved HIV prevention education for teens

Kaiser Survey finds Black and Latino Youth “Very Concerned” about Impact of HIV on themselves and others their age

by Sarah Childress | PBS FRONTLINEENDGAME: AIDS in Black America | http://to.pbs.org/SbJKrB

November 27, 2012, 4:42 pm ET   ::  Every month, 1,000 young Americans become infected with HIV.

Young people aged 13 to 24 make up about 26 percent of all new diagnoses in 2010, even as other demographics have remained relatively stable, according to new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC data, released today, [CDC REPORT FOLLOWS]  raises new questions about how to prevent young people from contracting a disease that global advocates have been hoping they might be able to stop.

For the first time in history, the U.N. has said that there’s a chance to eradicate the disease, but only if new infections can be curbed. In its annual report on the global AIDS problem, the U.N. said that there were slightly fewer (pdf) infections worldwide in 2011, 2.5 million compared to 2.6 million the year before, part of a decline since 2001.

“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 getting infected at such high rates,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC’s director, on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

At one time, most kids who had HIV/AIDS in the U.S. were born with it. Now, after a major push to test and treat pregnant women, most mother-to-child transmissions can be blocked.

Most young people diagnosed with HIV today contract the disease through sex. For most young men, it’s through sex with other men. But the overwhelming majority of young women — 86 percent — contract the disease from heterosexual sex.

A little more than 60 percent of black and Latino youth aged 15 to 24 — whose communities have been disproportionately affected by the disease —  and 32 percent of white young people, said that HIV/AIDS is a “very serious issue” for their generation, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which also came out today. [KAISER SURVEY FOLLOWS]

But most still aren’t getting tested.

Even though the CDC has recommended that young people be tested regularly for HIV, only 13 percent of high-school students have ever been tested, it found, although that number is slightly higher among sexually active teens. (We’ve looked at some of the reasons testing rates remain low here.)

Also troubling: the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS remains strong among young people, with more than 60 percent saying they would be “uncomfortable” with an HIV-positive roommate, or even having food prepared by someone who is infected, the Kaiser study found. Eighty-six percent said they would be “uncomfortable” being in a relationship with an HIV-positive person. (See the full survey and more on its methodology here.)

What does the new data mean for the war on AIDS?

Despite the publicity surrounding global efforts to raise awareness about the disease, like World AIDS Day, on Dec. 1, most young people surveyed said they “rarely” or “never” saw or read coverage about HIV in the past year, although a majority reported learning about the disease in school. Young gay or bisexual minority men, the group most likely to become infected, were the least likely to say they had received sex education in school.

The CDC didn’t announce new initiatives today, but last year, the department awarded $55 million over five years to 34 community-based groups to expand HIV prevention services for young gay, bisexual and transgender men of color.

CDC officials acknowledged a need for more and improved HIV prevention education for teens, including how to delay sex, how to protect themselves if they do engage in sexual activity, and how to ensure kids get tested regularly for HIV and, if they test positive, get into care.

But what’s taught in school sex-education programs is often decided on the local level. As we reported in ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America, most states teach only abstinence for HIV prevention, which leaves little for the roughly 50 percent of high school kids that the CDC estimates are already sexually active.

Young people “know they need to be talking about condoms,” Patrick Packer, then the executive director of the Southern AIDS Coalition, told FRONTLINE in the film. “But the leaders on school boards, the leaders in their community are putting up barriers for them to have frank and honest discussions about information that’s going to keep them safe.”

In the above excerpt from ENDGAME, we meet Marvelyn Brown, a young woman who was a typical “All-American teenager” who knew little about HIV/AIDS, until she met a man she thought was her Prince Charming. ”Ignorance makes you more susceptible to the virus,” she says.

Watch the full film and find more of our coverage on HIV/AIDS here.

NEWS RELEASE  | http://bit.ly/TjNWDL

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Survey finds Black and Latino Youth “Very Concerned” about
Impact of HIV on Themselves and Others Their Age;
Black Youth Most Likely to be Offered and to Get a Test for HIV


Rakesh Singh
(650) 854-9400

Sarah Williams Kingsley
(650) 854-9400

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Nearly three times as many Black teens and young adults, and twice as many Latino youth, say HIV/AIDS is an issue that concerns them personally as compared to whites the same age, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 15-24 year olds in the United States.

One in two (49%) Black youth say they are “very concerned” personally about HIV/AIDS today, another 21 percent say they are at least “somewhat concerned;” by comparison, only a third of whites express any personal concern (17% “very” and 18% “somewhat”).  Latinos of the same age fall in the middle with 32 percent saying they are “very concerned” personally, and another 16 percent, “somewhat concerned.”

Three in four youth today say HIV/AIDS is a serious issue for their generation (44% “very” and 34% “somewhat”).  As with personal concern, young people of color – those from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the disease – are more likely to see HIV/AIDS as a significant issue for others their age.  Twice as many Black (62%) and Latino youth (61%) say HIV/AIDS is “very serious” issue for their generation, as compared with whites of the same age (32%).

These differences correspond with the disproportionate affect HIV/AIDS has had on minorities, especially Black Americans, who account for nearly half of new infections in the U.S. today, while representing just 13 percent of the population.  Latinos, in particular young gay men, are also among those at greatest risk.

“For many young Americans, especially youth of color, HIV/AIDS is not just a societal issue, but also a deeply personal one,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communication & Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation.  “The survey provides hope that young Americans can be engaged, finding that over half say they see themselves as having a role in ending HIV/AIDS.”

While young people are concerned about HIV/AIDS and its effect both on themselves personally as well as for their generation, most appear to have a generally realistic understanding of HIV/AIDS today.  Most agree – 25 percent “strongly” and 54 percent “somewhat” – that “it is possible for people with HIV to live healthy, productive lives.”

Stigma Persists as Barrier to Overcome

More than 30 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed, one in three (33%) young people say there is still “a lot” of stigma around HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and another 51 percent say there is at least “some.”  When asked about their own feelings about HIV, a majority say they would be “comfortable” having a close friend who is HIV-positive (58%) or working with someone who is positive (54%), yet 62 percent say they would be uncomfortable having a roommate who is positive and 86 percent say they would be uncomfortable being in a relationship with someone who is positive.

Acknowledging the gaps in their knowledge and understanding of the disease, many young people say there is more they need to know about HIV/AIDS, including even the most basic facts.  A third (36%) say they would like more information about “how to prevent the spread of STDs, including HIV,” about as many as say they would like to know more about who should get tested (35%) and how to talk about testing (34%) and protection (27%) with a partner.  Young people of color (54% of Blacks and 61% of Latinos) are more likely than whites (34%) to say that they would like to know more about any of the topics asked about.  Younger teens, those ages 15-17 (53%), are more likely than young adults, ages 18-24 (40%), to say they want more information.

Black Youth More Likely to be Offered and to Get Tested

One in three (34%) sexually active young people – and 20 percent of all 15-24 year olds – say they have been tested for HIV.  Black youth are twice as likely to report having been tested than whites (50% vs. 25% among those who report having had sex).  A third (36%) of Latinos the same age who report having had sex say they’ve been tested.  At least some of the young people who say they’ve been tested may be mistaken, as 24 percent said they did not actually discuss it, but rather just assumed it was included with other tests or was a routine part of the exam.  Most (65%) of those who say they have been tested for HIV indicate it was part of another health visit; 21 percent say they went specifically to get tested.

For about half (48%) of those who report being tested for HIV, having their health care provider recommend they do so was a motivator in their decision.  Yet few health care providers seem to be suggesting testing to their younger patients.  Only 21 percent of sexually-active young people – and 13 percent of youth overall – say a health care provider has ever suggested they be tested for HIV.  Black sexually active youth are significantly more likely to report having had a test suggested by a health care provider (48%) than whites (13%) or Latinos (21%).  For those who report being sexually active but say they have not been tested, the most often cited reason is not believing themselves to be at risk (64%).  The next most common response was because their doctor had not suggested it (41%), reinforcing the role of health care providers in testing decisions. 

View of the Future and Their Role in It

At a time when many experts are saying an AIDS free future is within reach scientifically, most young people – 74 percent –say they are not overly optimistic about the prospects of seeing the end of AIDS in their lifetime.  But, there is hope they can be engaged.

When asked what, if any, role  they might play in realizing this potential, most say they see at least some role for themselves with 14 percent saying they see themselves having “a big role” and another 45 percent saying they have “a small role” in helping to end AIDS.  Black youth are more likely to see an opportunity to make a difference.  One in four (25%) Black young people say they have “a big role” to play in achieving this goal, and another 45 percent see at least some role.

On World AIDS Day – December 1st – I’m Positive, a new documentary special developed with the Kaiser Family Foundation that explores what it means to be young and HIV positive in America today, will debut on MTV (7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT).  Produced by Lauren Dolgen, the award-winning creator of MTV’s 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom, together with Dr. Drew Pinsky, the one-hour show follows the lives of Kelly, Otis and Stephanie, three young Americans living with HIV in 2012.  From the challenges they face to their hopes for the future, the show provides an up-close and personal look at HIV/AIDS.
I’m Positive is presented by GYT: Get Yourself Tested, a campaign to encourage testing for STDs, including HIV.  GYT is produced as part of a 15-year public information partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV to address sexual health issues facing young people.  Gilead Sciences provided funding for the production. 
Whether positive or negative, the show encourages all young people to consider their role in ending AIDS.    For more information visit:  gytnow.org


The poll, designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, was conducted Sep. 21 ‐ Oct. 1, 2012 among a nationally representative online sample of 1,437 youth ages 15-24 living in the United States.  The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 4 percentage points.  For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

The National Survey of Teens and Young Adults on HIV/AIDS, including a chart pack and the full question wording and methodology of the poll, can be viewed online.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California.



CDC REPORT:Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, and Risk Behaviors Among Youths — United States - November 27, 2012 KAISER SURVEY - Summary of Findings: NATIONAL SURVEY OF TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS ON HIV/AIDS Kaiser Family Foundation November 2012

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