In a comment published in The Lancet, a group of leading U.S. adolescent HIV providers and scientists called for comprehensive sex education in U.S. schools, among other measures, to help curb rising HIV rates among young people.
Donna Futterman, M.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Ph.D., of New York University, and colleagues also recommended novel HIV testing approaches that target youths with limited access to health care and HIV care delivery systems geared toward teenagers and young adults.
Despite declining HIV diagnosis rates among the general population, HIV diagnoses increased 6% between 2012 and 2016 among all young people, and even more among Latino (+17%) and African-American (+9%) MSM, the authors said.
They noted that 18-29-year-olds are less likely to have health insurance than older people, and younger people's health records may be shared with their parents. For those under 18, parental consent may be required, e.g., for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Furthermore, the authors warned that experiences of racist, homophobic, or transphobic stigma and discrimination may cause LGBTQ people of color to distrust the health care system. "National efforts should prioritise differentiated and youth-friendly HIV prevention models, and address social determinants shaping engagement and retention in prevention services among adolescents and young adults," they concluded.