HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

HIV/AIDS

In the U.S., 15% of all new HIV infections in 2006 were among people ages 13-24.1 Youth of color bear a disproportionate burden of new cases; 85% of new HIV or AIDS diagnoses in 2007 among youth ages 13-19 were to Latino and African American teens, who constitute only 32% of the youth population.2

In Massachusetts, the proportion of people diagnosed with HIV who are adolescents (ages 13–24) is lower than observed on the national level (9% and 15%, respectively), and about 1% of people living with HIV/AIDS are youth between the ages of 13 and 19. However, in some communities, the proportion of adolescents among recent HIV diagnoses is two or three times the state rate.

As is the case nationally, African American and Latino youth are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. From 2005–2007, 68% of youth diagnosed with HIV infection were Black or Latino. In that three-year period, 63% of youth diagnosed with HIV were male and 37% were female.3

Sexually Transmitted Infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are 19 million new cases of STIs annually, almost half of them among young people ages 15–24. In the United States, reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea exceeded 1.4 million in 2007. The rate among women was 3-fold that of men in 2007 with 543.6 cases per 100,000 women versus 190 cases per 100,000 men for chlamydia. Teen girls ages 15 to 19 have the highest gonorrhea rate of any age group.4

In Massachusetts, chlamydia is also the most common STI among adolescents ages 15–19 with a rate of 1,079.6 cases per 100,000 teens.5

Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types HPV. HPV can cause genital warts and cervical cancer, is the most common STI in the United States and probably the most common STI among youth. While there is no Massachusetts-specific data on HPV prevalence among youth, in a recent national study, 24.5% of teen women ages 14–19 and 44.8% of women ages 20–24 had HPV.6 In 2003–2004 the prevalence of HPV infection was highest for those between 14 and 24, approximately 40% in those aged 14–19 years and 50% in those aged 20–24 years.

In June 2006, an HPV vaccine was licensed for use in the United States. The vaccine provides protection against types 6, 11, 16, and 18.7 For more information about HIV, AIDS, and STIs, check out the following resources: