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Medical News

Epidemiology of HIV and AIDS Among Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States

September 5, 2006

The study authors proposed to describe the current status of the HIV epidemic among adolescents and young adults in the United States. Despite reported declines in sexual risk behaviors among adolescents in the past decade, little has been published about HIV/AIDS epidemiology among U.S. adolescents and young adults, the researchers noted.

The investigators analyzed HIV/AIDS cases among people ages 13-24 reported to the national HIV/AIDS Reporting System. AIDS cases from 1985-2003 came from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. trusts and territories. The researchers used HIV cases diagnosed in 2003 from 32 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The study presented five-year trends in HIV diagnoses from 1999-2003 from 33 surveillance areas that have stable name-based HIV reporting. Data were adjusted for reporting delays and unreported risk factors.

At the end of 2003, 7,074 adolescents and young adults, ages 13-24 at the time of diagnosis, had AIDS in the United States. Of those, 63 percent were ages 20-24. AIDS rates were highest among blacks (63 per 100,000) and youth in the South (22 per 100,000) and Northeast (18 per 100,000).

Among females, the number of HIV cases diagnosed decreased from 1,611 in 1999 to 1,454 in 2003. Among males, the number of diagnosed HIV cases increased significantly from 1,763 in 1999 to 2,443 in 2003. The observed increase in HIV cases among males was driven by an increase in HIV diagnoses among young men who have sex with men.

National case surveillance data for people ages 13-24 revealed that the burden of HIV/AIDS falls most heavily on the Southern region of the country and disproportionately on black and Hispanic youth, the study found. "The observed increases in the number of HIV cases among men who have sex with men are congruent with recent reports that suggest a resurgence of HIV among these young men," the authors noted. "Our findings highlight the need for intensified HIV prevention efforts within minority communities and among men who have sex with men as well as strengthened efforts to encourage at-risk youth to get tested for HIV," the researchers concluded.

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Adapted from:
Journal of Adolescent Health
08.2006; Vol. 39; No. 2: P. 156-163; Marķa C. Rangel, MD, PhD; Loretta Gavin, MPH, PhD; Christie Reed, MD, MPH, FAAP; Mary G. Fowler, MD; Lisa M. Lee, PhD

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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