Each year, about four million people younger than 20 years old are diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, human papilomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the United States, it is estimated that 50% of the 40,000 new HIV infections each year occur in people younger than 25 and 25% occur in people younger than 21.
HIV is transmitted from person to person via bodily fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal discharge, penile secretions, and breast milk. It can be spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles/syringes with someone who is infected, or, less commonly (and rare in countries where blood is screened for HIV antibodies), through transfusions with infected blood. HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities and concentrations in some AIDS patients. However, contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in HIV transmission.
HIV/AIDS ranks as the sixth-leading cause of death among individuals aged 15-24 in the United States, with the number of AIDS cases reported each year in that age group increasing by 417% from 1981 through 1994.
Men are more likely than women to develop HIV/AIDS. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 61% of all HIV/AIDS cases in the United States that occur in patients less than 24 years old are male. Transmission of HIV in males usually occurs after male-to-male sexual contact (74%) or high-risk heterosexual contact (13%), according to a 2001-2004 CDC survey in 33 states. About eight percent of HIV cases among 13-19 year-old males were transmitted via injection drug use.
Transmission of HIV in females usually occurs after high-risk heterosexual contact (84%) or injection drug use (15%), according to the 2001-2004 CDC survey.
The CDC also reported that African Americans aged 13-19 account for 70% of all HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in 2004, while Caucasians accounted for 15% and Hispanics accounted for 13%.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, antibodies, antiretroviral treatment, ART, CD4, CD4-cells, chlamydia, consumer-controlled test kits, gonorrhea, HAART, highly active antiretroviral treatment, herpes, HIV, home-testing kit, HPV, human immunodeficiency virus, human papilomavirus, immunocompromised, immunodeficiency, infection, opportunistic infection, pediatric dosing, puberty, rapid test, RNA test, rotavirus, sexually transmitted infection, STI, Tanner staging, T-cells, viral, virus, white blood cells.