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Notice to Readers: World AIDS Day --- December 1, 2001

"I care, do you?" is the theme designated by the Joint United Nations Program on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) for this year's World AIDS Day, December 1, 2001. This year's theme highlights the impact of HIV on youth and encourages young persons to learn about and to become more involved in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

As of June 2001, AIDS was reported among 793,026 persons in the United States; of these, 41,093 (5.2%) were aged <25 years at time of diagnosis (1). During July 2000--June 2001, a total of 3,398 (15.4%) persons aged 13--24 years were newly reported with HIV infection from the 36 areas with confidential HIV reporting (1). In addition, youth are at high risk for acquiring other sexually transmitted infections. In 2000, persons aged 15--24 years accounted for 74% of reported chlamydia, 60% of gonorrhea, and 22% of early syphilis cases (2). Effective HIV prevention interventions among youth may set lifelong patterns of sexual safety and responsibility. Increasing the proportion of youth who consistently engage in behaviors that reduce the risk for HIV acquisition or transmission is a key objective of CDC's 5-year HIV Prevention Strategic Plan to reduce new HIV infections in the United States (3).

The estimated number of AIDS cases diagnosed each year among children (i.e., aged <13 years) has declined consistently, from a peak of 949 in 1992 to 105 cases in 2000 (1). Declines in AIDS incidence among U.S. children are associated with the implementation of U.S. Public Health Service recommendations for use of zidovudine to reduce perinatal transmission (4).

Globally, an estimated 620,000 children aged <15 years were newly infected with HIV, and 500,000 children died of AIDS in 1999 (5). However, improving access to and use of interventions, including abbreviated antiretroviral regimens to prevent perinatal HIV transmission, may help decrease the number of infections in children. CDC's Global AIDS Program, in collaboration with other U.S. agencies, UNAIDS, and other international agencies, is assisting ministries of health to implement widespread use of these regimens (6) as part of its wider support for programs to prevent HIV, provide home- and community-based care for HIV-infected persons, and enhance surveillance, laboratory, and other infrastructures in 24 countries.

Additional information about World AIDS Day, HIV infection, and AIDS is available at <http://www.cdc.gov/hiv> and <http://www.unaids.org>. Information about the U.S. epidemic is available at 800-342-AIDS or in Spanish at 800-244-7432.

References

  1. CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance report. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 2001;13.
  2. CDC. Sexually transmitted disease surveillance 2000. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, September 2001.
  3. CDC. HIV prevention strategic plan through 2005. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, January 2001. Available at <http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/hiv_plan/default.htm>. Accessed November 2001.
  4. Lindegren ML, Byers RH, Thomas P, et al. Trends in perinatal transmission of HIV/AIDS in the United States. JAMA 1999;282:531--8.
  5. UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Report on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic: June 2000. Available at <http://www.unaids.org>. Accessed November 2001.
  6. CDC. Evaluation of a regional pilot program to prevent mother-infant HIV transmission---Thailand, 1998--2000. MMWR 2001;50:599--603.

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