HIV And Young People: Combatting Health Disparities

HIV and Youth

It’s Pride Month! This is a great time to pause, reflect on our history, and celebrate the vibrancy that is the LGBTQ community. It’s also an opportunity for us to take a look at the issues impacting the lives of those in our community who are most vulnerable: our youth.

In the U.S., young people (aged 13-24) account for roughly 1 in 5 new HIV infections. Rates of infection tend to be higher for youth who identify as LGBTQ. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 81% of youth newly diagnosed with HIV identify as gay and bisexual men.

Social and systemic barriers, such as familial rejection, homelessness, violence, and discrimination, which can prevent LGBTQ youth from making healthy choices regarding their sexual health, fuel this disparity. At Fenway Health, we tackle these barriers head on by providing affordable and LGBTQ-informed care to young adults through our programs at the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center. Just last year, we served over 1,500 patients between the ages of 12-29. That comes out to be over 8,500 patient visits addressing topics such as birth control, HIV testing and care, and health insurance.

You can help us continue to make an impact, too:

  1. Watch the video and share it with your friends. Education is one of the keystones of HIV prevention! This video features the song “A Brighter Tomorrow, Today” by Steve Combs, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. 
  2. Get tested. There are a number of places that offer HIV and STD testing services here in Massachusetts, including Fenway Health. If you’re not local to the Boston area, you can visit the CDC’s Get Tested website to find a testing location near you.
  3. Get involved. There are many ways in which you can effect positive change in your community, including being an ally. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

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