According to AIDS.gov, there are currently 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS. An even more alarming statistic is that about a quarter of each new HIV infection is in those aged 13 to 24 years old. Sixty percent of these HIV-positive youth do not even know they are infected and can unknowingly pass the virus onto others. Today is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). On this day of observation, Americans everywhere are encouraged to come together in order to help foster a better response to the HIV epidemic. Through an accumulation of these efforts, the nation and the world, will be one step closer to have an HIV-free generation.
There are many simple ways to observe NYHAAD, such as talking about HIV awareness in person or on social media. Although it is important to continue to invest in scientific advancements against AIDS like a vaccine or cure, it is also important to remember prevention strategies as well. Some tips to help observe this day given by the AIDS.gov blog include:
Social media is a great platform for spreading awareness on the impact that HIV and AIDS has had on youth. Use the #NYHAAD to start a conversation and promote others to recognize the message behind this day. Share information and resources for education and action from the NYHAAD website with others. For a start, check out some facts on youth and HIV from the CDC.
AIDS.gov estimates that one in six living with HIV are unaware of their infection. Use today to locate a nearby HIV testing clinic, by entering your zip code here. Help others to do the same. Use this video to better understand how to use the HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator.
Build Hope through Awareness
It is only through building awareness of HIV and AIDS that we will truly be able to see an “AIDS-free generation.” Help to build hope for a future where no one, regardless of age, has newly contracted HIV. You can do this by reading and sharing the PEFPAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation and fact sheet. Today, help to spread that knowledge of the role we all play in helping to meet the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and in supporting the HIV Continuum Initiative.
Today's generation must unite to educate others about HIV and AIDS, fight against stigmas, and work to raise awareness of prevention and testing. Through these efforts, perhaps one day the world can once again see a generation that knows what it’s like to live in an AIDS-free world. “The goal of an AIDS-free generation may be ambitious but it is possible with the knowledge and interventions we have now. Imagine what the world will look like when we succeed,” Hilary Clinton encouraged in the PEFPAR Blueprint.