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Friday, November 1, 2013

1 In 4 New HIV Infections Occurs In Young People, Ages 15 to 24 -- Many Still in Denial

HIV and Young People
One out of four new HIV infections in the U.S. occurs among young adults between the ages of 13 and 24. African American youths represent more than half of these. In fact, new infections occur among this group more than any other group. So, now is the time to start talking to your children about HIV.

This discussion is as important as telling your children the facts of life. The truth is, HIV is a real fact of life today, so teaching your children how to take precautions is absolutely necessary. It could save their life. Preventing HIV requires an open and honest discussion about sexual behavior and the risks involved that can lead to HIV.

The Risks for African Americans

It is particularly important for African American parents to educate their children on the dangers of HIV because in some African American communities there are more people living with HIV. This increases the risk for sexually active youth in those communities to become infected. They also need to know the type of behavior that youth often engage in that puts them at greater risk. This includes having unprotected sex, alcohol and drug use, and gay/bisexual activity among males, all of which increase their risk of getting HIV.

Education is Important

Youth often feel invulnerable to diseases like HIV and other life-threatening diseases. They may feel that because of their youth, nothing like this is going to happen to them, but nothing could be further from the truth. Education is the key to helping them understand the dangers of HIV and what they need to do to protect themselves. Parents unable to provide this type of education should make sure their children receive the information from other reputable sources like schools, churches, clinics, community programs and others. It's time to forget about stigma and help protect our youth.

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