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GMHC Statement on National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

4.10.2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cub Barrett | 212-367-1561 | cubb@gmhc.org

NEW YORK, NY—Below is a statement from Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) CEO Kelsey Louie on National Youth Day of HIV/AIDS Awareness:

Our nation’s youth remain at a disproportionately high risk of contracting HIV. Young people between the ages of 13 and 24 continue to account for one-fifth of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S., and most of these cases occur among young Black or Latino men who have sex with men (MSM). Despite the proven efficacy of prevention tools like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the federal Administration’s 2019 budget proposal includes cuts to domestic HIV programs crucial to reducing risk of HIV transmission. In the face of a federal government hostile to the needs of vulnerable people, we need collective action to protect our youth. 

As we continue to work to prevent all HIV infections and end the AIDS epidemic in New York State by 2020, we must prioritize initiatives and proven solutions that will provide vulnerable communities with the necessary resources to reduce high-risk behaviors. The most important tool in lowering HIV infection rates in young people is comprehensive sex education. We have a responsibility to equip our youth with medically accurate information so that they can make healthy and responsible decisions and reduce their and their partner’s risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Interventions like PrEP and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are also crucial to help us significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV, yet many young people may not even be aware they exist. In addition to eliminating barriers to regular STI testing, we must make sure all young people have access to all the tools available to remain HIV negative.

Educating and empowering young people is essential in the fight to end the epidemic, especially in those communities that continue to be most at risk. GMHC will continue to remain vigilant and stand with young people and all other communities impacted by HIV/AIDS to end this epidemic once and for all.

 

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About Gay Men's Health Crisis: Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit  www.gmhc.org.