- ATLANTA (Reuters Health)
- Since the Office of National AIDS Policy published its most recent statistics
in 1996, an estimated 80,000 teens and young adults have become infected
with HIV in the United States, according to their newly-released report.
- Sandra Thurman, director of the White House Office of
National AIDS Policy, spoke about the findings to a group of high school
students, in conjunction with the United States Conference on AIDS here.
- ``We've made some real progress since the last report
was published, and that's good news, but unfortunately, we're facing a
lot of the same challenges that we faced in 1996,'' she said.
- ``The report emphasizes the distressing reality that
the vast majority of HIV-infected youth do not receive adequate medical
care,'' Thurman continued.
- According to the report, out of 40,000 new HIV infections
every year, government officials estimate that 50% of the cases occur in
young people between the ages of 13 to 24. Although high-risk sexual behaviors
have dropped and the use of condoms has risen, the number of new HIV infections
has remained steady since 1996.
- Minorities are at greatest risk of being infected, Thurman
said. African Americans and Hispanics each make up about 15% of US teenagers.
Among new teen AIDS cases reported, 49% are among African Americans and
20% are among Hispanics.
- ``We need to make sure that we are giving our young people
the information they need to make decisions for themselves. Young people
ought to have access to counseling, testing and treatment if they're HIV-infected
and many young people in this country don't have that access,'' Thurman
told Reuters Health after the conference.
- ``The report reminds us that behavior change is still
the key to preventing HIV and protecting America's youth and shows the
good news that we know what works. It's not rocket science here,'' she
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