By Isaiah Webster III, Manager, Prevention
Today’s youth are the first generation to have never known life without HIV/AIDS. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people ages 13-29 accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections as of 2009. More than 34,000 young people are living with HIV, and health departments remain committed to linking these individuals to care.
The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) has partnered with 13 other national and local organizations to establish the first-ever National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), which is April 10, 2013. NYHAAD is a day to educate the public about the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people as well as highlight the amazing work young people are doing across the country to fight the epidemic.
In observance of NYHAAD, NASTAD is releasing a new video “Raising the Bar: Young People, HIV and Access to Healthcare.” The 10-minute clip features youth and health care professionals from across the United States discussing the barriers to effectively linking youth to HIV care, and the urgent need for a disease response that addresses the unique issues facing young people.
The video is a continuation of NASTAD’s efforts to raise awareness of issues facing youth living with HIV/AIDS, particularly youth disproportionately impacted by the disease.
NASTAD’s other work on youth and HIV includes:
- In January 2013, the article “Improving Engagement and Retention in Adult Care Settings for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth Living with HIV: Recommendations for Health Care Providers” was published in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health; it was co-written by NASTAD staffer Michelle Batchelor and NASTAD consultant Rena Greifinger.
- In 2012, NASTAD released “Reaching Them Where They Are,” a guide for using online and social media to conduct sexual health outreach with youth.
NYHAAD will feature events across the country, including a Congressional briefing led by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who has long been a champion of strengthening the response to HIV/AIDS. A resource toolkit is available for any community stakeholders interested in commemorating National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and NASTAD will continue to share information and resources as appropriate.
If you have any questions about NASTAD’s youth work or about NYHAAD, please contact Isaiah Webster III.