Youth, both male and female, have a higher risk for HIV infection than adults. In 2018, more than 20% of new HIV cases in the U.S. were among individuals aged 13 to 24. Adolescents are a vulnerable population at risk of infection because they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and injection drug usage. Many young people living with HIV are unaware of their infection, have low testing rates, and are less likely than adults to use medicine to prevent HIV. This makes them an important population for outreach and screening, especially in rural areas, where barriers in access to preventive services and treatment are low.
Rural HIV/AIDS programs reported the need for education among the adolescent population. One rural program noted that there is a perception among adolescents in some rural communities that HIV/AIDS is no longer a problem or has been “cured.” Rural HIV/AIDS programs offer HIV 101 classes and education programs in regional high schools and universities. They also seek to reach adolescents in other settings such as health fairs and grocery stores.
Resources to Learn More
HIV and Young People
Includes information and data about young people living with HIV/AIDS. Discusses the characteristics of young people making them vulnerable to HIV exposure and transmission.
Guidelines for the
Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection
Offers guidance on the diagnosis of HIV infection in infants and children and on the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Includes recommendations for managing adverse effects linked with the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in children and provides information about the safety, efficacy, and the movement (pharmacokinetics) of ARV drugs.
Organization(s): HIV.gov, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
of Adolescent and School Health
An overview of the division within the CDC focused on youth promoting health knowledge, healthy behaviors, and links to health services to prevent HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
LGBTQ Inclusivity in
Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool
A professional development tool designed for school staff to improve their inclusivity-related skills and strategies supporting LGBTQ students within the school environment.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NORC at the University of Chicago