on US orders over $100
on all US orders over $100
December 1 is World AIDS Day, a reminder of the long struggle to end the AIDS epidemic and those lost to it, as well as the need to practice safety measures to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. We are slowly gaining ground in the fight, but rates of the disease increase and its suppression decreases in populations without stable housing or consistent access to health care. This is especially true for youth and young adult populations, who often bear the heaviest burden of health care inequality.
The outlook for America's fight against HIV and AIDS is optimistic, although should still be treated with gravity. The data surrounding the diseases shows declining rates, but ones that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations:
Although HIV rates are declining for everyone, and the rate of sexual activity among teenagers have been consistently dropping for years, young people are still sometimes at increased risk of the disease compared to older Americans. Increased education and access to health care services is the best way to decrease this risk.
One of our best sources of data regarding youth rates of HIV and AIDS is the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which provides services to more than half the Americans diagnosed with these diseases. It's a government program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB).
The RWHAP data regarding younger clients shows a vulnerable population in need:
Also alarming are the relative numbers of RWHAP youth clients who are not virally suppressed. Viral suppression is when the amount of a virus drops to an undetectable level, which means that a person has effectively no risk of transferring the virus to a partner. RWHAP youth clients who are receiving RWHAP care for HIV have much lower rates of viral suppression than the RWHAP average of 87.1 percent:
However, it should be noted that nationwide, only 59.8 HIV and AIDS patients are virally suppressed, showing that programs like RWHAP do work in reducing the spread of these diseases and improving the lives of those who have them. Consistent access to HIV medication can reduce the viral load to the point of suppression, which makes this access crucial.
Whether you're a young person, a parent, a medical professional, or a trusted adult in the life of a young person, HIV prevention starts with frank, open discussions about sexual health. Some ideas: