Thursday, February 16, 2006

Facts about HIV and YMSM

HRSA has announced a new report from the RWCA SPNS (Special Projects of National Significance) program called: "Stigma and the SPNS YMSM of Color Initiative." The report discusses the role of stigma as a both a cause and a consequence of barriers to health care, especially for young men who have sex with men. Since the research study that is the basis for the report will continue until 2009, no final conclusions have been reached. However, the report does offer some useful insights into ways to overcome stigma in the health care setting.

In addition, the report provides some important "Facts About HIV and YMSM," which highlight the importance of this work:
  • In the United States, half of all new HIV infections are believed to occur in people under age 25; one-fourth occur in people under age 21.(1)
  • In 2002, 28 percent of all new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS were among 25- to 34-year-olds.(2)
  • Of the cumulative AIDS cases in 13- to 19-year-olds, 51 percent are among African-Americans and 20 percent are among Hispanics.(3)
  • Between 1998 and 2002, AIDS incidence increased by 16 percent among youth ages 13 to 24.(4) Given the time from seroconversion to progression to AIDS, which often spans 10 years or more, it is evident that a large portion of AIDS cases reported among people
    under age 30 resulted from HIV infection contracted in their teens.
  • Young people may be more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS than older people. Their social, emotional, and psychological development is not complete. Therefore, they have a tendency to experiment with risky behavior and alcohol and drug use.(5)
  • Several risk factors are associated with a higher risk for HIV among youth. For example, 1 in 7 adolescents in the United States live in poverty, 1 in 2 minority adolescents live in poverty, and nearly 5 million adolescents are uninsured.(6)


(1) Offi ce of National AIDS Policy. Youth and HIV/AIDS: 2000 A New American Agenda. Washington, DC; 2000.

(2) CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. 2002;14:6.

(3) CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance in Adolescents. L265 slide series (through 2001). Slide 7. Available at:

(4) CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. 2002;14:12. Table 3.

(5) Ellen JM. Adolescents and HIV. The Hopkins AIDS Report. 2002; May.

(6) Ryan C, et al. Adolescent health challenges: lesbian and gay youth care and counseling. Adolescent Medicine, State of the Art Review. 1997;8(2):208-10.

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