New Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data indicates that an estimated 12,000 young people became infected with HIV in 2010, with young people ages 13 to 24 now representing more than a quarter of all new HIV infections in the United States.
The Vital Signs report, issued last week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, finds that African Americans represented almost 60 percent of new HIV infections among young people in 2010, with more new infections occurring among African American males than any other demographic.
According to the new statistics, approximately 87 percent of new HIV infections among young men were the result of male-to-male sexual activity, with the report indicating that African Americans represent 54 percent of new HIV infections among young gay or bisexual males. Researchers state that 86 percent of new HIV infections among young women resulted from heterosexual sex, with an additional 13 percent of new infections resulting from intravenous drug use — a total six percentage points higher than the injection drug use infection rates reported for young men.
Researchers indicate that about 60 percent of young people with HIV do not know that they are infected. Furthermore, while young males are much likelier to have HIV than young women, studies indicate that they are also less likely to seek HIV testing.
“Health-care providers and public health agencies should ensure that youths are tested for HIV and have access to sexual health services, and that HIV-positive youths receive ongoing health-care and prevention services,” the report reads. “More effort is needed to provide effective school- and community-based interventions to ensure all youths, particularly MSM [men that have sex with men], have the knowledge, skills, resources, and support necessary to avoid HIV infection.”