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National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

Large group of young adults on stairsApril 10th is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). This annual observance is the first day set aside to recognize the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on young people.

HIV/AIDS is a potential issue for people of any age, including youth. In the United States, an estimated 22% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were aged 13-24 years. Despite the disproportionate number of new HIV infections occurring among youth, the percentage tested for HIV is low compared to other age groups. Only 1 in 5 sexually experienced U.S. high school students has ever been tested for HIV.

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) was created by Advocates for Youth and other partners to educate the public about the impact of HIV/AIDS on youth. The day also highlights the exceptional work young people are doing across the country to strengthen the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The day serves as a reminder that investing in young people's health and education is a critical step to achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Helping youth make healthy choices requires the involvement of families, communities, and many sectors of society, including schools.

Group of students

Schools can play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people.

The Role of Schools

Schools can play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people. The nation's schools provide an opportunity for more than 50 million students to learn about the dangers of unhealthy behaviors and to practice skills that promote a healthy lifestyle. Schools are a key partner in helping young people take responsibility for their health, prevent unhealthy or risky behaviors, and adopt health-enhancing attitudes and behaviors that can last a lifetime.

Schools and other youth-serving organizations can help young people adopt behaviors that reduce their risk for HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unintended pregnancy, and other related health problems. Some ways to encourage youth is to teach them about HIV/AIDS and other STDs, promote communication between youth and their parents, and support student access to HIV counseling and testing services.

What CDC is Doing

CDC works with other federal agencies, national nongovernmental organizations, and state and local departments of education, health, and social services to address the needs of young people. CDC funds 19 state and 17 local education agencies and helps districts and schools deliver exemplary sexual health education that emphasizes prevention of HIV and other STDs, increases adolescent access to important sexual health services, and establishes safe and supportive environments for students and staff. CDC also collects and reports data on youth health risk behaviors to study trends in youth sexual behavior, identify critical health events, and monitor progress over time.

What Can You Do?

More work is needed to ensure that young people know how to protect themselves against HIV. NYHAAD encourages everyone to:

  • Get educated. Learn the basic facts about HIV transmission, testing, and prevention.
  • Get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 years get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Contact your health care provider about testing.
Graphic: National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day is April 10

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is observed to recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people.

To have the most positive impact on adolescent health, parents, schools, and community- and school-based organizations and health centers must work together to help provide safe and nurturing environments for youth.

  • Join the NYHAAD thunderclap. The thunderclap will go live on April 10th at 2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PT, and encourages individuals and organizations to support the HIV prevention needs of teens. Visit http://thndr.me/3MQK57 to sign up.
  • Share the NYHAAD button. Post this web button on your site.

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