Question

As a health teacher I would like to know your opinion of how many teens actually aquire HIV every year. I am really unsure of this statistic; however, I do believe the government likes to scare teens into thinking that if they have unprotected sex one time they will get HIV. The government also makes it seem like millions of teens are affected in the US every year.

Thanks for your time and consideration doctor.

Answer

Hello,

Current statistics suggest half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. occur in young adults aged 13-24. For the past 15 years or so, it was estimated that we had approximately 40,000 new HIV infections per year here in the U.S. Newer data suggests that figure is low and that the real number is in the 50,000-60,000 range. Consequently, we can estimate that 25,000-30,000 "teens" become HIV infected each year. This is tragic, because HIV is a totally preventable illness. I urge you, as a health teacher, to promote a science-based, factual and age-appropriate sex education curriculum for your students. This would obviously include STD-prevention techniques other than abstinence-only.

Good luck. Help us save lives by teaching the truth.

Dr. Bob