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 are focusing on how investment in health education and services for youth is critical to ending HIV. In 2021, despite efforts to reduce transmission, youth still accounted for more than 19% of all new HIV diagnoses nationwide.
HIV disproportionately impacts Black youth. In 2021, 53% of new HIV diagnoses among youth were among Black people. The disparity is even more stark among young Black women—in 2020, over 61% of young women living with HIV were Black.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a valuable tool in HIV prevention – in 2021, young people under age 24 accounted for 19% of new HIV diagnoses but only 13% of PrEP users. In addition, young people face challenges in accessing and maintaining HIV treatment – only 81% of young people (aged 13-24) were linked to HIV care in 2021, the lowest rate of any age group.
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. For example, in 2020 only 27% of 18-24-year-olds reported having ever been tested for HIV, far lower than the national average of 39%. Also, according to the CDC, in 2019 18% of 18–24-year-olds with diagnosed HIV had unprotected sex (sex while not virally suppressed with a partner whose HIV status was negative or unknown, a condom was not used, and the partner was not taking PrEP) in the past 12 months, the highest across all age groups. Quality health education is critical for young people to learn the information and skills they need to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STDs.
To learn more about how the HIV epidemic impacts 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.
- Dr. Samantha Hill on HIV in young people and adolescents
- Advocates For Youth’s Char’lee King on the importance of youth advocacy
- Stephanie M. DeLong on National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
- Share our infographics with your networks to raise awareness.