CDC: New HIV Infections Disproportionate in Youths

Testing for HIV relatively uncommon in young people

TUESDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Young people made up more than a quarter of new HIV infections in the United States in 2010, but only a relatively small proportion of youths have been tested, and more than half who have HIV are unaware that they have the virus, according to research published in the Nov. 27 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Suzanne K. Whitmore, Dr.PH., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues studied data from the National HIV Surveillance System to estimate the prevalence of diagnosed HIV infection in 2009 and new infections in 2010 among persons aged 13 to 24 years in the United States. They also consulted the 2009 and 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and the 2010 National Health Interview Survey to assess risk factors and degree of testing among young people.

The researchers determined the prevalence of diagnosed HIV to be 69.5 per 100,000 youths by late 2009, with 12,200 youths accounting for slightly more than a quarter of new HIV infections in 2010. About 57.4 percent of new infections were among blacks, and 72.1 percent were attributed to sexual contact between males. About 13 percent of high school students and 34.5 percent of 18-to-24-year olds underwent testing.

"A disproportionate number of new HIV infections occur among youths, especially blacks/African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and men who have sex with men. The percentage of youths tested for HIV, however, was low, particularly among males," the authors write.

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