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AIDS Cases Rising Among U.S. Teens, CDC Reports

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed this week that the AIDS epidemic is “alive and well” in the U.S., mostly among teenaged boys and young men ages 13-24 who are engaging in risky sexual behaviors often fueled by drugs or alcohol. NBC News has more:

“The CDC estimates that 12,200 young men and women aged 13 to 24 became infected with HIV in 2010. And by far most of them were boys and men. Nearly three-quarters were boys and men having sex with other men. And more than half of the newly infected youths were African American.

The report “really provides shocking data on the higher rate of risky behavior and the lower rate of condom use” among young men, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters on a conference call.

The report finds that just 13 percent of high school students have been tested for the virus and just 35 percent of 18 to 24 year olds have been.

“Young gay and bisexual men report much higher levels of risky sexual behavior than their heterosexual peers,” Frieden said. They are more likely to have multiple sex partners, use drugs and alcohol before sex – which makes them in turn more likely to skip using condoms and tsake on other risks, too.

A separate CDC survey of high school kids and young adults found that young gay and bisexual men were more likely to report having had sex with four or more partners. They were also more likely to have injected drugs – another risk factor for AIDS, although most are infected sexually.

The answer, the CDC says, is a combination of testing, treatment and good sex education in schools.”

Image: Teenage boy, via Shutterstock

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