FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2017
Contact: Danielle Schlanger | 646.200.5309 | email@example.com
New York, NY – GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, released the following statement to recognize National Youth Day of HIV/AIDS Awareness.
STATEMENT BY Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) CEO KELSEY LOUIE:
Today, we are faced with an alarming reality: our nation’s youth, especially those who identify as LGBTQ or who are men who have sex with men (MSM), remain at disproportionately higher risk of contracting HIV. Statistics show that young people between the ages of 13 and 24 account for one-fifth of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. Most of these cases occur among young Black, African American, Hispanic or Latino men who identify as gay or bi-sexual; are transgender or are men who have sex with men (MSM).This is unacceptable--we must demand collective action to protect our youth.
Comprehensive sex education is the most important tool in lowering HIV infection rates in youth. Today, in every corner of our nation, ineffective sexual health education is failing to prepare teens to take charge of their health, a trend that will likely continue under the new administration. We have seen dangerous consequences; there has been a precipitous drop in condom use among sexually-active high school students and very low rates of HIV testing. We have a responsibility to educate young people about the joys of a happy and healthy sexual life: one that prepares them to have sex in a manner that does not put them or their sexual partners at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STI).
We also must increase access to STI testing and all interventions available to remain HIV-negative. This includes Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), two invaluable resources in the fight against the epidemic. These tools can significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV, yet many young people are not aware of them. Early detection of HIV infection can help people living with HIV maximize the efficacy of treatment options and properly manage their care.
Educating and empowering all young people, especially those in our communities who remain at risk, is essential to achieving our collective goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020.
About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 10,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org.