There are a lot of teenagers and young adults who are still at risk of getting infected with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, especially in the USA. Statistics show that 38,739 people living in the USA have been new victims of this dangerous and life-threatening infection in 2017. About 20% of them were YMSM or young men who have sex with men, primarily African American population, who are at really high risk of getting infected with HIV virus.
The balance between young people getting infected in each generation and sending out messages about the dangers of HIV and its consequences has been broken. Schools and other educational institutions play a major role in this fight against HIV, raising awareness inside the institutions among young people, especially young men.
Prevention Of HIV And The Challenges That Come With It
There are various reasons for numerous discrepancies when it comes to HIV infection. Unfortunately, we still do not understand them quite well. It is important to note that these discrepancies do not reflect differences based on ethnicity or race considering the risk behaviors. However, there are certain factors that explain them, such as poor education and interventions regarding HIV infections.
It means that programs of sex education in educational institutions are not good enough to raise awareness and do not necessarily match the needs of YMSM, or young men who have sex with men. This in return is not effective enough to prevent them from getting infected or to reduce the risks when it comes to different sexual behaviors.
Furthermore, the awareness of HIV infection is pretty limited, causing men who are infected through sexual contact with other men to be in the dark about the fact that they might be infected in the first place. This also increases the risks of spreading the disease further because these men do not pay much attention to the fact that they should get tested for HIV. If the test is positive, they should undergo the proper treatment.
That also brings us to another factor, which is the bad perception of the risk of getting infected with HIV. There is also the factor of these men, feeling isolated and depressed, bullied, victims of sexual violence, so they start using alcohol and drugs, which is also very common among YMSM.
Strategies For Raising Awareness About HIV Among YMSM In Educational Institutions
CDC is the one that funds local education, as well as the state one, to help schools and other educational institutions to raise awareness about HIV by implementing the topic into the educational program.
They are also collaborating with other non-profit organizations, and health institutions to collect data about health risk behaviors and use them properly. Together they make school environments a safe place where YMSM can get support, provide some of the essential sexual health services, like counseling and advice about testing. Last but not least, to introduce sexual health education that will serve as a good example to everyone else.