December 1 is World AIDS Day

The Family and Youth Services Bureau will mark World AIDS Day on December 1, along with governments, organizations and people around the globe who are taking action to prevent the spread of HIV and care for those living with AIDS. This year’s theme is "Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation."

“Our teen pregnancy prevention programs work diligently to keep young people free of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” says Resa Matthew, director of the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Division of Adolescent Development and Support. “World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to emphasize to all of those who work with young people the importance of joining together to create an AIDS-free generation.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Young people ages 13 to 29 accounted for 39 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009.
  • HIV disproportionately affects young gay and bisexual men and young African Americans, compared to other young people.
  • All young people should know how to protect themselves from HIV infection.

Here are some things youth and family services programs—and the general public—can do on World AIDS Day and year round:

Encourage testing. To find HIV testing sites, text a ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948) or type a ZIP code into the locator.

Promote care for those affected. The locator, which is available as an iPhone app, also lists services for people living with HIV, including housing assistance, health centers, HIV care for those without insurance, mental health and substance abuse programs, and family planning clinics.

Reduce the stigma. Facing AIDS is a federal initiative that encourages people to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy by speaking out and helping to reduce the stigma that continues to surround HIV. According to the strategy, “The stigma associated with HIV remains extremely high and fear of discrimination causes some Americans to avoid learning their HIV status, disclosing their status, or accessing medical care.”

Prevent HIV. The website of the Office of Adolescent Health’s National Resource Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Adolescents lists programs shown to reduce HIV risk among teens.