National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
April 10th marks National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an annual observance that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people and the importance of prevention, testing, and treatment. In New York State, people aged 13-19 accounted for 4% (77) of all new HIV diagnoses in 2021, according to the NYS Department of Health.
In 2021, New York State reported that 78% of newly diagnosed HIV cases in 13-19-year-olds were male, 56% Black (56%), 29% Hispanic, and 68% identified as men who have sex with men. This data highlights the importance of addressing HIV prevention and education among young people, particularly those who are at higher risk of acquiring HIV. Explore more demographic data on newly diagnosed New Yorkers living with HIV here.
Routine testing is essential for the early detection and prevention of HIV/AIDS among young people. Unfortunately, many young people with HIV are unaware of their status. The CDC recommends that all sexually active young people aged 13 to 24 be tested for HIV at least once as part of their regular healthcare check-ups, and more often if they engage in high-risk behaviors. The CDC reports that the prevalence of high school students in the U.S. who have ever been tested for HIV has decreased from 12.9% in 2013 to 9.4% in 2019. In New York State, 16% of high schoolers in 2019 have ever been tested for HIV. The AIDS Institute provides online resources to find testing locations and access self-tests.
In addition to testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are two other effective tools for preventing HIV/AIDS among young people. PrEP is a daily medication that can reduce the risk of getting HIV by up to 99% when taken consistently, according to the CDC. Among PrEP users in NYS in 2021, 1.4% are between the ages of 13-19, and the majority of young people using PrEP are Medicaid-insured (71%). Explore more PrEP use data here.
Viral suppression among New Yorkers living with HIV aged 13-19 increased substantially from 52% to 71% between 2014 and 2021. Although in 2020, viral suppression dropped from 72% to 70% from the prior year, likely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This highlights the importance of HIV treatment and care services for young people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic. Explore more data related to viral suppression rates.
New York State has implemented several initiatives to improve HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and care services among young people, particularly young men who have sex with men and young transgender people. Youth Access Programs (YAP) efforts include providing PrEP/PEP screening and expedited access and connecting people newly diagnosed and living with HIV to ongoing care. Visit the NYS DOH AIDS Institute’s site for resources on talking to youth about HIV.
As National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed, it is important to recognize the significance of routine testing, PrEP, and PEP in preventing HIV/AIDS among young people in New York State. These measures can lead to a reduction in new diagnoses, improvement in viral suppression rates, and better health outcomes for youth. By promoting and increasing access to these prevention strategies, we can work towards a healthier future for our communities. Explore data on the ETE Dashboard to stay informed on the latest trends in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York State.