Black Youth More Likely to be Offered and to Get Tested
One in three (34%) sexually active young people - and 20 percent of all 15-24 year olds - say they have been tested for HIV. Black youth are twice as likely to report having been tested than whites (50% vs. 25% among those who report having had sex). A third (36%) of Latinos the same age who report having had sex say they've been tested. At least some of the young people who say they've been tested may be mistaken, as 24 percent said they did not actually discuss it, but rather just assumed it was included with other tests or was a routine part of the exam. Most (65%) of those who say they have been tested for HIV indicate it was part of another health visit; 21 percent say they went specifically to get tested.
For about half (48%) of those who report being tested for HIV, having their health care provider recommend they do so was a motivator in their decision. Yet few health care providers seem to be suggesting testing to their younger patients. Only 21 percent of sexually-active young people - and 13 percent of youth overall - say a health care provider has ever suggested they be tested for HIV. Black sexually active youth are significantly more likely to report having had a test suggested by a health care provider (48%) than whites (13%) or Latinos (21%). For those who report being sexually active but say they have not been tested, the most often cited reason is not believing themselves to be at risk (64%). The next most common response was because their doctor had not suggested it (41%), reinforcing the role of health care providers in testing decisions.
View of the Future and Their Role in It
At a time when many experts are saying an AIDS free future is within reach scientifically, most young people - 74 percent -say they are not overly optimistic about the prospects of seeing the end of AIDS in their lifetime. But, there is hope they can be engaged.
When asked what, if any, role they might play in realizing this potential, most say they see at least some role for themselves with 14 percent saying they see themselves having "a big role" and another 45 percent saying they have "a small role" in helping to end AIDS. Black youth are more likely to see an opportunity to make a difference. One in four (25%) Black young people say they have "a big role" to play in achieving this goal, and another 45 percent see at least some role.
On World AIDS Day - December 1(st) - I'm Positive, a new documentary special developed with the Kaiser Family Foundation that explores what it means to be young and HIV positive in America today, will debut on MTV (7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT). Produced by Lauren Dolgen, the award-winning creator of MTV's 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom, together with Dr. Drew Pinsky, the one-hour show follows the lives of Kelly, Otis and Stephanie, three young Americans living with HIV in 2012. From the challenges they face to their hopes for the future, the show provides an up-close and personal look at HIV/AIDS.
I'm Positive is presented by GYT: Get Yourself Tested, a campaign to encourage testing for STDs, including HIV. GYT is produced as part of a 15-year public information partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV to address sexual health issues facing young people. Gilead Sciences provided funding for the production.
Whether positive or negative, the show encourages all young people to consider their role in ending AIDS. For more information visit: gytnow.org
The poll, designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, was conducted Sep. 21 ? Oct. 1, 2012 among a nationally representative online sample of 1,437 youth ages 15-24 living in the United States. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 4 percentage points. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.
The National Survey of Teens and Young Adults on HIV/AIDS, including a chart pack and the full question wording and methodology of the poll, can be viewed online.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California.Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
Web site: http://www.kff.org/
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