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HOW MANY TEENAGERS ARE INFECTED?
Sep 19, 2001

DOING RESEARCH PAPER ON HIV/AIDS AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW MANY TEENAGERS ACTUALLY HAVE HIV/AIDS?

Response from Mr. Kull

Your question is complicated for several reasons, but it is an important one, so I will do my best to answer it.

First of all (and this might be helpful for your paper), how do you define "teenager"? There are many definitions for that group. If you follow the reporting methods of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is the best resource for information of this sort, a teenager or adolescent is generally defined as ages 13-19. Adolescence is more accurately defined by physical and psychological changes and development (like beginning puberty), so take that into account when doing your research.

Are you talking about HIV/AIDS cases in the United States? I will assume that you are, but it is also important to recognize that other regions and cultures may define teenager/adolescent differently than the U.S., or that category may not exist altogether.

The number of cumulative AIDS cases to date (December, 2000) among 13-19 year old males and females in the U.S. total 4,061. Among young adults, age 20-24, the number of total cases has been 27,232. Remember, these are people diagnosed with AIDS, not solely HIV infection. Most young adults with AIDS were probably infected with HIV during adolescence.

The total number of people infected with HIV in the U.S. is not clear yet because uniform reporting methods in states have not been completely established. Methods for tracking HIV infection in the U.S. have improved, and the numbers will become more clear over time. The number of new infections among 13-19 year olds reported to the CDC through December, 2000, is 5,580. However, since many states have not been reporting all new HIV infections, we can assume that there are many more HIV positive adolescents.

Consult the CDC's website (www.cdc.gov) for more on HIV/AIDS statistics.

Good luck with your research-

RMK



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