HIV and Youth: Viral Suppression
Viral suppression is the percentage of people with diagnosed HIV who have less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
It is important for young people to know their HIV status so they can take medicine to treat HIV if they have the virus. Taking HIV medicine every day can make the viral load undetectable. People who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or remain virally suppressed) can stay healthy for many years and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sex partners.
Youth with Diagnosed HIV in 41 States and the District of Columbia, 2018
Compared to all people with diagnosed HIV, youth have lower viral suppression rates. For every 100 youth with diagnosed HIV in 2018:
* Had 2 viral load or CD4 tests at least 3 months apart in a year.
† Based on most recent viral load test.
Source: CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomes pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB] [slides].
Among people with HIV, youth aged 18 to 24 years reported higher levels of skipped doses of HIV medicine, missed medical visits, and experienced homelessness. These factors pose barriers to achieving viral suppression and highlight the need for youth-specific support for HIV care retention and treatment adherence.
Missed HIV Medical Care Appointments Among Youth with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2018*
HIV Stigma Among Youth with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2018*
Ten-item scale ranging from 0 (no stigma) to 100 (high stigma) that measures personalized stigma, disclosure concerns, negative self-image, and perceived public attitudes about people with HIV. According to a studyexternal icon, higher scores are associated with poorer social support and greater depression and substance use in youth.
* Aged 18 to 24 years.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.
Homelessness Among Youth with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2018*
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- CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomes pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB][slides].
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- National youth risk behavior survey (YRBS). Accessed March 18, 2021.
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- CDC. Results from the school health policies and practices study, 2016pdf icon.
- Kann L, McManus T, Harris W, et al. Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2017. MMWR 2018;67(8):1-114. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
- Siegler AJ, Mouhanna F, Giler RM, et al. The prevalence of pre-exposure prophylaxis use and the pre-exposure prophylaxis-to-need ratio in the fourth quarter of 2017, United States. Ann Epidemiol 2018; 28(12):841-9. PubMed abstractexternal icon.