September #174 : The Facts of Life - by Regan Hofmann

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Table of Contents
 

Features

All Grown Up With HIV

Facing the Future of HIV Care

From the Editor

The Facts of Life

Feedback

Letters- September 2011

The POZ Q+A

Going the Distance

What You Need to Know

The First Lady (Finally) Mentions HIV/AIDS

15M by 2015

Health Care for People With HIV in Grave Danger

Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewels to Be Sold at Christie’s

Having Sex With Albino People Does Not Prevent or Cure AIDS

India-EU Trade Deal Could Put Millions With HIV at Risk

We Hear You

Judicial Prejudice and HIV

What Matters to You

Finding True Love With HIV

Treatment News

Test-Tube Babies

More Access to Medicaid for People With HIV

Help for Prisoners

FDA Approves a New HIV Drug

They’re Putting Viagra in Condoms???

By the Numbers

GMHC Treatment Issues September 2011

Comfort Zone

Life, in Harmony

POZ Heroes

Kid Wonder

   
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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September 2011

The Facts of Life

by Regan Hofmann

The two camps of American youth growing up with HIV today represent, alternately, a victory and an abject failure of public health.

Because of treatment advances, the lives of many perinatally infected children (those who contracted HIV in utero, during birth or via breast feeding) have been spared and now those children are navigating their way toward or through adulthood. They are the products of public health gone right. What’s more, our ability to prevent mother-to-child transmission today, particularly in the United States, makes it far less likely that new children will join their ranks.

Other young people acquire HIV behaviorally, through having unprotected sex or sharing injection drug works. People ages 13 to 29 represent 34 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States. This staggering rate of infection despite HIV’s preventable nature is the direct result of a lack of comprehensive sex and health education in America. What we are not telling our kids is killing them. To be fair, some schools and parents do educate their kids about safer sex. But the fact that young people comprise more than a third of all new infections stateside speaks largely to a failure of public health and our unwillingness to address the facts of life.

Regan HofmannThey’re called the facts of life for a reason. Talking frankly to kids about sex keeps them safe. And if living with HIV for 15 years and disclosing and discussing sex openly with the general public and intimate partners has taught me anything, it’s that we can get over our hysteria about talking about sex—even with kids—when   doing so maintains health and saves lives.

The stories of the young people featured in “All Grown Up With HIV” highlight how their challenges differ from, and align with, those of us who are older and have HIV. What inspires me most about these young people with HIV is their determination to use their stories to help others stay safe, and their energy to fight for the health care and rights of all people living with HIV/AIDS.

It’s a good thing. We’re gonna need them. With the combination of the economic crisis and proposed budget cuts, health care for people with HIV served by the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and Medicaid is not guaranteed. As you will read in “Facing the Future of HIV Care,” some organizations are positioning themselves to provide care in a new era.

We’ve been saying for months that the ADAP crisis is the tip of the iceberg. Medicaid is under serious fire, and unlike Medicare, which affects a huge swath of the voting populace, Medicaid addresses the needs of the underprivileged who fall last on the scale of political sway. We must fight for the preservation of Medicaid-—and the Affordable Care Act. One way we do that is to tell the people who will be running for reelection that we will vote against those who don’t make the health care of all Americans a priority.

Advocacy is a tough job. Luckily, a whole new generation of young people living with HIV are ready to fight for their lives—and ours. And fortunately, many of them are also old enough to vote.

Search: Regan Hofmann, youth, perinatally infected, breast feeding, sex education, AIDS Drug Assistance Program, ADAP, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act


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