20,000 US Teens Get AIDS
Every Year - Half Of All
New HIV Infections
By Emma Patten-Hitt
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 added.
This Site Served by TheHostPros