National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) is observed each year on April 10. NYHAAD increases awareness, gets people talking, and highlights the work being done to reduce HIV among young people.

Today’s youth are the first to have never known a world without HIV and AIDS, however they are the least likely to be aware of their HIV infection compared to any other age group. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2018, youth and young adults ages 13 to 24 made up 21% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. and Dependent areas. Most of these diagnoses were among young gay and bisexual men.

In Montgomery County, of the 95 new HIV infections in 2019, 29 (31%) were among youth. Young people living with HIV are also the least likely of any age group to stay in care and have a lower viral load. Strategies to address the impact of HIV on young people require they have access to affirming, culturally specific, medical resources and tools.

Montgomery County Health Commissioner, Jeff Cooper states, “As a society, we have a special duty to keep our young people safe and provide them with the resources they need to live healthy lives. This includes ensuring equitable access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care in our communities.”

The HIV AIDS Prevention Committee of Region 9 (Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties) is working hard to help prevent the spread of HIV. The committee offers case management, linkage to care, HIV testing, PrEP, syringe exchange, counseling and referral services. Preventing HIV among youth requires educating this vulnerable population before they start to have sex and then continuing to respond to their changing needs.

To learn more about evidence-based education and testing available for youth and young adults call 937.496.7133.

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