CDC: Half of young people with HIV don't know it
November 27th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

CDC: Half of young people with HIV don't know it

Almost a quarter of new HIV cases are seen in young people, and more than half of them don't know they're infected, says a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

According to the report, more than 12,000 new cases occurred in young people aged 13 to 24 in 2010, and close to 60% of them did not know their HIV status.

"That so many young people become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy," wrote CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden in the report.

Among the hardest-hit every year are young gay and bisexual men and young African-American men, according to the report.  And despite recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S.Preventive Services Task Force that everyone 15 and older receive HIV testing, many teens and young adults still do not get tested.

Researchers found that only about a third of 18-24 year olds and only 13% of high school students have ever been tested.

The CDC also looked at specific risk factors in the young gay and bisexual communities, and found that overall, men having sex with men tended to engage in riskier behavior.

Specifically, they were more likely to have had sex with more than four partners, and more likely to have used injectable drugs - both risk factors for HIV.

In addition, they were more likely to have used drugs or alcohol before having sex, and were less likely to use a condom.

"We can and must achieve a generation that is free from HIV and AIDS," wrote Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS at the CDC. "It will take a concerted effort at all levels across our nation to empower all young people, especially young gay and bisexual youth, with the tools and resources they need to protect themselves from HIV infection."

The report comes just four days before World AIDS Day on December 1.

soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. T.rex

    Name me a disease that ISN'T the result of poor judgment.

    November 28, 2012 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
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  2. Betsy

    In the past ten years, II have known three people now, all in their early 20s, who have died from AIDS. One was a friend, the other two were from my hometown. None of them found out until they were near death. We're all going to live forever at that age, right?

    November 28, 2012 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Melba Voneye

    If you are a parent, you should simply tell your doctor to add the test to your child's yearly physical along with all the standards. I don't understand why this isn't done automatically, but it should be. I just started it at like 12 and my kids had that and all the other tests every year like clockwork. The only reason that you wouldn't do it is because you are living in a fantasy world believing that "my little angel would never have sex out of wedlock". Be real, they might, and the cost is not going to add that much to your bill. You are already paying for tests, so just do it.

    November 29, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. amanda

    HIV and AIDS are a bad bunch we were told about in high school. Lucky for me I have only slepted with one man. Aids kills through the fact it suppresses the immune system. Yes medicine can help lesson the pain and effects but eventually a person dies from this. Why as youth are we taking our chances with this sickiness.. And oh for those who say that abstabance isnt possible it is. praticed it till I met my husband and haved practiced everytime he has been on deployment (by not cheating on him).

    November 30, 2012 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeeDeeinIndy

      And I bet you think you don't need to be tested. SMH.

      December 3, 2012 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Zee

      Amanda – guess what? You need to be tested. Why? Because you "sleep" with someone – even though that is only one. I used to work for an HIV program, and guess how quite a few of our clients contracted HIV? Their ever-so-faithful-he/she-would-never-cheat-on-me-spouse. Oh, sure. I get it. He's not cheating on you. Did you know that maybe he "slept" with someone before he met you? That counts in the world of possible HIV exposure. And furthermore, HIV can be contracted by non-sexual routes: "sleep" with someone that has every injected drugs (or "slept" with someone who did), inject drugs yourself, get a tainted blood transfusion, get a tattoo from a parlor that Oops-ed about autoclaving tools (hubby gets a tat while he's overseas and he may come back with more than body art – heck, you can get HIV AND Hep C in one fell swoop), during surgery you may not realize there is a fair chance of exchanging blood with your surgeon – particularly for orthopedic procedures, – just to name a few routes. So your fidelty and sexual purity are a start, but HIV can still get you. Think harder, Amanda, and never feel that it couldn't happen to you. I've watched as average Joe's and people pure like the driven snow innocent as lambs have been taken down by AIDS.

      December 5, 2012 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  5. Grizz

    @Ross – I'm a HIV- male who has been around the community a lot longer than you have. Trust me, there are plenty of young men out there who are looking for "gift givers," HIV+ men who do not use condoms. There are plenty of online websites and groups where these men can be found.

    December 1, 2012 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. DeeDeeinIndy

    I'm saddened by the CNN pole that showed only half of the responders have been tested for HIV. I can't believe people still don't go get tested. Even if you're in a "monogomous" relationship – GET TESTED!

    Also, it's sad to see people still have to argue back and forth about HIV/AIDS being a black or white thing. People will go to their dying graves arguing over race – only to die and finally realize that in the scope of existence, it means absolutely nothing. So what, this group supposedly has more HIV/AIDS cases than the next. If you're the person that ends up getting infected, what the hell is that statistic going to mean to YOU????? It will mean NOTHING because it won't change your situation.

    December 3, 2012 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jorge

    This is hard to understand, accounting for the fact that HIV/AIDS awareness has been around for the last 25 years. When I was in my 20s in Puerto Rico an AIDS epidemic was decimating straights and gays between the ages of 18 and 45, partly because of the pervasiveness of needle-sharing among occupationally functional addicts coming back from the U.S. and partly because no great STD wave had ever hit the island before, shortly thereafter a great big push for HIV/AIDS/STD awareness was enacted everywhere from the school classroom to the barrio. HIV/AIDS/STD awareness was promoted so much that the rate of teenage and single-parent pregnancies has dropped dramatically over the past decade as a side effect, as a matter of fact, the mean population SHRUNK in P.R. from one census to the last. Strange thing is, there has been an INCREASE in drug use (which is correlated to HIV/STD infection) on the island over the last two decades. Proof positive that comprehensive s-e-x and health education DO work.

    December 10, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
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