April 10 is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), a day to educate the public on the impact of HIV on youth, especially young people of color. This NYHAAD, we recognize the resilience of youth and young leaders fighting the HIV epidemic across the country as they highlight the urgent need to raise awareness about HIV prevention and care among their peers.
Many young people who are at risk for HIV receive insufficient sex education and experience health-related inequities that are linked to low testing rates, high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and low condom use. In 2020, despite efforts to reduce transmission, youth still accounted for more than 20% of all new HIV diagnoses nationwide.
Out of those new diagnoses among youth, male-to-male sexual contact and heterosexual contact made up 93% and 90% of all new HIV diagnoses among young men and women respectively, underscoring the need to raise awareness about HIV prevention.
Among youth, communities of color are disproportionately affected by HIV. Compared to their white and Hispanic/Latinx counterparts, young Black men and women experience greater rates of HIV.
- In 2019, Black men represented 54% of all young men living with HIV.
- In the same year, Black women represented 61% of all young women living with HIV.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a valuable tool in HIV prevention – in 2019, young people under age 24 accounted for 21% of new HIV diagnoses but only 14% of PrEP users. In addition, young people face challenges in accessing and maintaining HIV treatment – only 63% of youth with HIV were virally suppressed in 2019, the lowest rate of any age group.
The HIV epidemic among youth is impacted by a wide range of health disparities and cultural factors, including stigma and socioeconomic challenges. Social determinants of health such as poverty and unemployment can negatively affect HIV-related health outcomes by creating competing priorities and hindering access to basic health care:
- In 2020, an estimated 16% of youth under 18 were living below the poverty line, compared to just 10% of adults.
- In the same year, 9% of youth under the age of 19 were uninsured, up 1.6% from 2018.
To learn more about how the HIV epidemic impacts the youth, explore these AIDSVu resources:
- Visualize HIV data stratified by age at the city-, county-, and state-level on AIDSVu’s interactive maps.
- Explore our local data profiles to learn about HIV/AIDS in your area.
- Find available HIV testing and care services near you with AIDSVu’s service locators.
- Read expert-led Q&A blogs to deepen your understanding of HIV/AIDS among youth.
- Share our infographics with your networks to raise awareness.