National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) took place on April 10. This annual health observance recognizes the impact of HIV on the health of young people. This day also serves as a reminder of the important work we do by investing in the health and education of youth to stop the spread of HIV.
A recent CDC analysis found that the proportion of high school students (grades 9–12) who ever had sexual intercourse decreased from 47% in 2005 to 41% in 2015. This decrease represents one positive change among adolescents who are at higher risk for negative health outcomes associated with early sexual initiation. However, among those youth who were sexually active, there were decreases in the use of condoms in recent years and relatively low rates of HIV testing. The prevalence of these behaviors puts young people at risk.
NYHAAD is an excellent opportunity for education, public health, and other youth-serving agencies to come together to help young people adopt behaviors that prevent or reduce their risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). To support this year’s NYHAAD efforts, we invite you to access CDC’s NYHAAD Resources toolkit. This online toolkit contains information and materials for planning communication activities that inform and educate partners, stakeholders, and communities about HIV prevention for youth.
Achieving an HIV-free generation of young people requires that we all work together to offer all youth, especially those at high risk for HIV, the tools they need to make healthy decisions and access treatment and care, if needed. We thank you for your support of effective HIV and STD prevention programs by connecting schools, communities, parents, and students to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS and STDs for our young people. Together, we can reach youth with prevention programs and ensure they are healthy and productive members of society!
Kathleen Ethier, PhD
Division of Adolescent and School Health
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., MPH
Cross-posted from NCHHSTP Communications Center