According to a new report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 39 percent of all new HIV infections are among young people aged 13-29. Persons aged 15-29 make up only 21 percent of the population.
HIV disproportionately affects young gay and bisexual men and young Hispanics and African-Americans. Infections among young black men increased 48 percent.
In 2009, the last year for which statistics are available, 8,294 young people were diagnosed with HIV and 75 percent of those were aged 20-24.
In a National Youth Risk Behavior Study, more adolescents are having sex at a younger age — 46 percent of high school students have had sex and 5.9 percent reported their first sexual intercourse at age 13 or younger.
The report faults homophobic educational programs for part of the problem:
“Young MSM [men who have sex with men] may be at risk because they have not always been reached by effective HIV interventions or prevention education — especially because some sex education programs exclude information about sexual orientation.”