HIV Testing Needed Among Teens


The Bush Abstinence Only Sex Education has done a disservice to teens according to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The CDC reports that between 2006-2009, during the Bush administration, the HIV rate increased 21% among men between the ages of 13-19 and increased 34% in men who have sex with men.

During the Bush administration the government funded abstinence only sex education was the only type of sex education schools and organizations could receive government funds for. Under the abstinence only sex education curriculum, use of condoms for prevention of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections was prohibited. Educators were censored when it came to discussion of any disease or pregnancy prevention method other than abstinence. As a result HIV and STD rates increased.

Because of the lack of comprehensive sex education, the number of teens getting tested for HIV decreased dramatically as well. 65% of teens report being sexually active by the time they finish high school while only 13% report ever being tested for HIV. This has resulted in new guidelines for pediatric HIV testing to be issued by the Committee on Pediatric AIDS. The new guidelines recommend that pediatricians offer HIV testing to patients between 16-18 years of age at least once if the pediatric population is greater than 0.1% of the community. High risk adolescents should be tested annually.

Testing is the first line of defense in gaining control over the spread of HIV and managing HIV infections. Making HIV testing part of routine medical care not only normalizes it but will help identify someone with HIV so they can get medical treatment. With the high rate of HIV infections due to the disaster of abstinence only sex education, knowing your HIV status is more important than ever before so teens are no longer living without the knowledge they need to prevent the spread of HIV.


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