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By Jill Drachenberg, Editor, Relias Media
More than 30 years after the start of the HIV crisis, young people in the United States still harbor misconceptions about HIV and lack sufficient knowledge of the sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to a new survey.
Researchers from Merck and the Prevention Access Campaign surveyed 1,596 Generation Z (18-22 years of age) and millennials (23-36 years of age) to determine their understandings, beliefs, and sexual practices related to HIV. Forty-one percent of HIV-negative Generation Z respondents reported being somewhat informed or uninformed about HIV, compared to 23% of HIV-negative millennials. Other findings include:
“Despite scientific advances and decades of HIV advocacy and education, the findings highlight a disturbing trend: young adults overwhelmingly are not being informed effectively about the basics of HIV,” said Bruce Richman, founding executive director of the Prevention Access Campaign and the Undetectable Equals Untransmittable campaign. “These findings are a call to action that the crisis in the United States is far from over. It’s time to elevate a real conversation about HIV and sexual health among America’s young people, and roll out innovative and engaging initiatives to educate and fight HIV stigma.”
Hospital EDs can play a role in diagnosing HIV in patients and linking them to treatment. An article in the December issue of ED Management details how EDs in large, U.S. academic medical centers routinely screen patients for HIV, regardless of the reason for the visit. Those who test positive are quickly referred to specialized care to begin treatment. ED Management also details how the rising tide of STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia threatens to undermine efforts to stem the HIV epidemic in the United States.