Over the past 15 months, the South Los Angeles Oasis HIV clinic has seen its caseload of HIV-positive teens rise from 1 to 47, the Los Angeles Times reports (latimes.com, 7/6). The clinic expects to have 100 positive teenage patients by the end of the year.

According to the article, the number of newly infected teenagers in South L.A. is part of a national trend. A report released in June by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that new HIV diagnoses among young gay men ages 13 to 24 nationwide rose by 12 percent from 2001 to 2006. The Oasis Clinic’s medical director, Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan, told the Times that many of his patients were kicked out of their homes for being gay and were forced onto the streets and into sex work, which put them at risk for HIV infection.  

“These kids are sort of mentally adapted to not being here when they’re 30,” said Jordan. “If you think you’re going to be dead by 30 and the disease takes 10 years, it doesn’t scare you so much.”