ATLANTA (UPI) — U.S. teens and adults ages 13-24 represent more than a quarter of new HIV infections each year, but six in 10 are unaware they are infected, officials say.
A Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said an estimated 12,200 new HIV infections occurred in 2010 among young people ages 13-24 — 72 percent of estimated new HIV infections in young people occurred in young men who have sex with men and 57 percent were African-Americans.
“That so many young people become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. “All young people can protect their health, avoid contracting and transmitting the virus, and learn their HIV status.”
Despite recommendations from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which call for routine HIV testing of young people in medical settings, the analysis showed 35 percent of those ages 18-24 were tested for HIV, while only 13 percent of high school students and 22 percent of sexually experienced students were ever tested, Frieden said.
Partially as a result of lower testing levels, HIV-infected people age 25 and under were significantly less likely than those older to get and stay in HIV care and to have their virus controlled at a level that helps them stay healthy and reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to partners, the report said.