New anti-AIDS help available for youth
If New York State is to meet its goal to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2020, it must attack the problem head on and stop HIV transmission in at-risk populations. The most at-risk group is MSM - men who have sex with men.
New York estimates that there were 2,925 new HIV infections in 2013.
• MSM comprised 71% of estimated new infections.
• One in every three estimated new infection was in persons aged 25-34 years.
• People ages 25-34 had the greatest estimated number of new infections of any age group (966).
National statistics from the CDC show similar trends among younger MSM dating to 2010.
• MSM ages 13-24 are at particular risk. In 2010, this group accounted 20% of all new HIV infections and
• New infections among MSM ages 13-24 increased by 22% between 2008 and 2010, the most significant increase of any age
ACR Health Action Plan
The Q Center at ACR Health has long-standing ties with this at-risk population in Central New York. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute has awarded ACR Health a first-ever $150,000 grant to target gay youth 13-24 to combat new HIV infections. Our high-impact strategy was developed during focus groups with young people held in late July 2015, with input from young people we serve - youth peers, Youth Advisory Board members, and ongoing client surveys.
This grant will serve 150 young gay men through testing for HIV, Hepatitis, and STDs; provide youth friendly services and safe space; use a positive youth development approach; employ new media and social networks; provide comprehensive sexual health education and safer sex supplies, as well as access to HIV/HCV/STD testing and screening; link clients with other prevention services, such as PrEP.
Change in state law needed
Allowing underage at-risk youth to use of PrEP will require a change in New York State law which prevents treatment of HIV or receiving medication which prevents HIV infection for underage teens without parental consent. The governor has proposed increasing PrEP access for teens. ACR Health supports this change in part because youth often do not live at home and parental consent is not available. This sexually active group of individuals needs to be protected from acquiring HIV.
March 3, 2016