Santa Barbara, CA (January 19, 2016) — A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells us there is much more to do for our teens and young adults around HIV awareness and education, and for testing.
On average, only 22 percent of high school students (17% of male and 27% of female students) and 33 percent of young adults (18 to 24 year olds) who report having had sexual intercourse also report being tested at least once for HIV (bit.ly/23cNLkc Pediatrics, online January 19, 2016). The study examined behaviors of high school students from 2005-2013 and young adults from 2011-2013.
According to Reuters, the results highlight the need to get more teens and young adults screened. And that access, affordability and confidentiality are big hurdles for young people (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-hiv-teens-idUSKCN0UX2Q4).
Locally, Pacific Pride Foundation, the leading provider of HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing and care combats these hurdles. “All of our HIV testing is free and anonymous.” Says Executive Director, Colette Schabram. “We proudly hold weekly testing hours in both our Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices, and partner with universities, colleges and juvenile facilities for education, outreach and testing on an ongoing basis.” Testing is available to anyone 13 years old or over, and is offered in English and Spanish. Pacific Pride’s trained, experienced, friendly staff are also available to do educational presentations, outreach, tabling etc within the community.
“Testing is a critical component to the health of our community” Schabram adds. 44 percent of adolescents and young adults with HIV are not aware that they have HIV. This is the highest percentage of any age group, making young people vulnerable to poorer health and higher risk of transmission to others.
Beyond testing, younger generations have a lack of understanding about how HIV is transmitted. Sex education in schools are showing a failure to educate and empower youth to have working knowledge of HIVAIDS.