Many youths unaware they have HIV

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 10, 2012

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Teenagers and young adults represent more than a quarter of new HIV cases each year, but 60% of those with the condition don’t know they are infected, said a study published in the Nov. 30 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

An estimated 47,500 new HIV infections occurred in 2010. Of those, 12,200 (25.7%) were among people ages 13 to 24, the report said. Teens and young adults most affected by the disease are men who have sex with men, who compose 72.1% of new infections, and blacks, who make up 57.4% of new cases.

In 2010, only 34.5% of people 18 to 24 had been tested for HIV despite CDC recommendations that health professionals routinely screen youths for the disease (link).

Researchers examined data on teens and young adults from multiple sources, including the National HIV Surveillance System and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

School- and community-based approaches should be implemented to educate youths about HIV before they engage in risky behaviors such as sexual activity, the report said. Steps also should be taken to delay the onset of sexual activity among young people, increase condom use for those who are having sex and decrease injection drug use, according to the report.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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