Minority Youths Bearing Biggest Impact of HIV
Thursday, April 11, 2019
NEW YORK – Wednesday was National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day, and this year the focus is on HIV-related health disparities and barriers to achieving viral suppression.
In 2017, about 87% of the young adult clients in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program were from racial or ethnic minority groups, and more than 70% lived at or below poverty level.
But according to Dr. Laura Cheever, physician and associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, about half of all young people living with HIV in the United States don't know they're infected.
She points out there are two critical reasons for young people to get tested.
"People living with HIV need to get onto medication because they can live a near-normal lifespan if they know they have the HIV infection, and second, once they're on those medications, they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to someone else," says Cheever.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funds grants to states, cities and community-based organizations to provide HIV care and support services to low-income people.
Cheever notes that there's been success in reducing the rate of HIV infections among youths in general and especially among young women. But there still are wide disparities in infection rates in minority communities.
"Eighty-one percent of new diagnoses among young people are among men who have sex with men," says Cheever. “About half of those are among African Americans and about a quarter of those are among Hispanic gay men."
She attributes those disparities to limited access to medical care and stigmas associated with HIV, being gay, bisexual or transgender in many minority communities.
Though New York has more cases of HIV than any other state, Cheever says strong political and public-health support for efforts to reduce the spread of HIV have made the state a real success story and a model for other states.
"About 86.5% of all clients that have had at least one visit in New York in a Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program are virally suppressed, which means they're on treatment, they're taking their medication and they're doing quite well," says Cheever.
She adds that we have the tools we need to end the HIV epidemic in this country but more resources are needed to achieve that goal.
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
HOUSTON -- Many U.S. communities with bustling downtowns were better prepared to weather economic fallout from the pandemic, thanks to a decades-old …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
SEATTLE - Constructive conversations online can seem few and far between. Research from the University of Washington explores how the design of …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…