For the first time, a study documents the incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among very young men who have sex with men -- including those under age 18 -- who were followed over a period of two years. Rates of new HIV and STI cases were as high, or higher, among participants than among rates previously found for older age groups, especially for Black and Hispanic young men.
"These high rates of incident HIV and urogenital STIs among YMSM [young men who have sex with men] in this study should be a wake-up call for health-care providers working with these young men," said Garofalo and colleagues. "Health-care providers and clinicians working with YMSM need to prioritize health education and discussions of sexual risk and partner selection, including strategies for prevention and offer routine testing at regular intervals, consistent with current CDC guidelines."
In the study, a total of 355 HIV-negative young men who have sex with men between 16 and 20 years of age were followed for two years. They completed HIV and STI testing at the beginning of the study and then once a year during the study. Participants also completed questionnaires about risk behavior including substance use and sexual practices.
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