Despite years of decline in the overall HIV rate in the U.S., there are troubling increases among adolescents and young adults, according to the newly published article.
In an article in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet HIV, NYU Silver School of Social Work’s professor and Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) director Vincent Guilamo-Ramos spotlights what he describes as the “underappreciated youth HIV crisis” and substantial rise in new HIV diagnoses among adolescents and young adults.
Guilamo-Ramos writes in the article entitled “Youth at risk of HIV: the overlooked US HIV prevention crisis” that the number of new annual HIV diagnoses in the USA declined 4% from 2012 to 2016, continuing a favorable trend overall that began in the 1980s.
However, among those 13- to 29 years old, new HIV diagnoses rose by a substantial 6% from 2012 to 2016, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The rates of new HIV diagnoses are highest among racial and ethnic minority youth and young men who have sex with men (MSM),” writes Guilamo-Ramos. “Alarmingly, new diagnoses among Latino young MSM increased 17% between 2012 and 2016, and new diagnoses among Black young MSM increased 9%.”
Of great concern is data released by the CDC highlighting micro-epidemics, where HIV transmission occurred at rates as high as 33 times the national average. Micro-epidemics are “high-risk clusters” largely consisting of youth, racial and ethnic minorities, and adolescent and young adult males who have sex with men.
Among many inequality factors driving the youth HIV epidemic is unequal access to HIV preventive and treatment health-care services for key populations, including youth from sexual, gender, racial, and ethnic minority groups, according to the researcher. In the article, Guilamo-Ramos highlights three important areas in practice and policy for responses to the youth HIV crisis in the U.S.