Condom use remains steady, but teens still face HIV risk
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Despite an increase in condom use, American teens are still at risk of contracting HIV, according to a recent report presented at the 2012 International AIDS Conference. The Associated Press published an article on the report, which found that despite the fact that condom use among young people has increased in the past 20 years, four out of every 10 new HIV infections in the U.S. occur in people under the age of 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This suggests that more needs to be done to make real progress toward eliminating HIV in America.
Researchers said 60 percent of teens surveyed reported that they had used condoms the last time they had sex, which is up from 46 percent in 1991. However, condom use among teens reached a high of 63 percent in 2003, and hasn't risen since.
Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s HIV Prevention Center, told the news source that many schools do not have comprehensive sexual education programs, and many do not teach about the ways to avoid developing HIV or a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Another issue is that many young people believe they are invincible.
"Lawrence Stallworth II, 20, of Cleveland can attest that they’re not. He learned he was infected with HIV at age 17, when he was a high-school senior, after a hospitalization. A black gay man, he’s among one of the nation’s highest-risk groups. He’s now an Ohio AIDS activist who works to teach young people that they need to protect themselves, and how," according to the news source.
The California Family Health Council states that individuals who want to protect themselves from a sexual infection should use male or female condoms every time they have sex, have few sexual partners and regularly visit STD testing centers.
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