Statistics show that HIV disproportionately affects gay men and minorities such as blacks and Hispanics. Approximately 87 percent of young males between the ages of 13 to 24 that are diagnosed with HIV annually are gay. And roughly a quarter of the 50,000 individuals diagnosed HIV+ per year fall within this age group.
This evidence shows how imperative education is in gay, lower income, youth and minority communities. It is important to talk to your children, peers and doctors and to shed the "That could never happen to me/my child/my friend" mentality that often accompanies these types of conversations.
We've made some extreme advances in HIV treatment, prevention and research; however nothing is as preventative as having safe sex, using condoms and abstaining from risky behavior. This type of behavior is the result of a healthy, open dialogue, a community of education and the making of sound, smart decisions.
If you or someone you love is at risk for HIV, talk to them or talk to a doctor – it'll be worth it.
Dr. John T. Brooks was a key contributor and lead expert to the writing of this article. Dr. Brooks is the lead of the HIV Epidemiology Research Team in the Division of HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA.