Survey finds Black and Latino Youth "Very Concerned" about Impact of HIV on Themselves and Others Their Age; Black Youth Most Likely to be Offered and to Get a Test for HIV
MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly three times as many Black teens and young adults, and twice as many Latino youth, say HIV/AIDS is an issue that concerns them personally as compared to whites the same age, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 15-24 year olds in the United States.
One in two (49%) Black youth say they are "very concerned" personally about HIV/AIDS today, another 21 percent say they are at least "somewhat concerned;" by comparison, only a third of whites express any personal concern (17% "very" and 18% "somewhat"). Latinos of the same age fall in the middle with 32 percent saying they are "very concerned" personally, and another 16 percent, "somewhat concerned."
Three in four youth today say HIV/AIDS is a serious issue for their generation (44% "very" and 34% "somewhat"). As with personal concern, young people of color - those from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the disease - are more likely to see HIV/AIDS as a significant issue for others their age. Twice as many Black (62%) and Latino youth (61%) say HIV/AIDS is "very serious" issue for their generation, as compared with whites of the same age (32%).
These differences correspond with the disproportionate affect HIV/AIDS has had on minorities, especially Black Americans, who account for nearly half of new infections in the U.S. today, while representing just 13 percent of the population. Latinos, in particular young gay men, are also among those at greatest risk.
"For many young Americans, especially youth of color, HIV/AIDS is not just a societal issue, but also a deeply personal one," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communication & Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. "The survey provides hope that young Americans can be engaged, finding that over half say they see themselves as having a role in ending HIV/AIDS."
While young people are concerned about HIV/AIDS and its effect both on themselves personally as well as for their generation, most appear to have a generally realistic understanding of HIV/AIDS today. Most agree - 25 percent "strongly" and 54 percent "somewhat" - that "it is possible for people with HIV to live healthy, productive lives."
Stigma Persists as Barrier to Overcome
More than 30 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed, one in three (33%) young people say there is still "a lot" of stigma around HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and another 51 percent say there is at least "some." When asked about their own feelings about HIV, a majority say they would be "comfortable" having a close friend who is HIV-positive (58%) or working with someone who is positive (54%), yet 62 percent say they would be uncomfortable having a roommate who is positive and 86 percent say they would be uncomfortable being in a relationship with someone who is positive.
Acknowledging the gaps in their knowledge and understanding of the disease, many young people say there is more they need to know about HIV/AIDS, including even the most basic facts. A third (36%) say they would like more information about "how to prevent the spread of STDs, including HIV," about as many as say they would like to know more about who should get tested (35%) and how to talk about testing (34%) and protection (27%) with a partner. Young people of color (54% of Blacks and 61% of Latinos) are more likely than whites (34%) to say that they would like to know more about any of the topics asked about. Younger teens, those ages 15-17 (53%), are more likely than young adults, ages 18-24 (40%), to say they want more information.
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