Hiv, Adolescents, and Risky Behaviors

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HIV/AIDS, adolescents, and risky sexual behavior

HIV/AIDS, adolescents, and risky sexual behavior

You can’t smell it, taste it, hear it, or even see it. BUT, it lives inside the bodies of 36 million people worldwide and it’s responsible for the death of many others. It’s the biggest epidemic in human history (Sittitrai, 1998). It’s HIV/AIDS, and it doesn’t care who you are or where you’re from. U.S. public health officials estimate that 20,000 Americans between 13 and 24 years of age are newly infected with HIV every year. Like it or not, HIV/ AIDS is here, so it’s up to you to learn how to live with it. You need to understand your risk and learn about ways to be safe and take responsibility for your own health. (Adolescent AIDS Program at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, New York-Program 2001-02) Thus, practicing safer sex has become an important tool for young adults while making new relations.

Importance of the Study
The lack of systemic education, information and exposure to information regarding the dangers of HIV/AIDS for the youth, has contributed significantly to the increase in risky behavior in the youth, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners, drugs and needle sharing. Youths between the ages of 15 yrs. to 19 yrs. are often easily infected with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases because of the information deficit. Young and adolescents are the most neglected, vulnerable misinformed group in the fight against AIDS. The disease has reached epidemic proportions. The disease represents tremendous health problems and huge health care costs (Gupta, HOW HIV SPREADS). The disease has threatened blood supply in the United States and in other parts of the world considering the fact that most young people do not have the maturity, experience and range of options that adults usually bring to life’s decision making process, systemic education and information are the only available prevention resources. The information about AIDS and its deadly danger is not getting to our youths. The information deficit among boys and girls about their own vulnerability is a matter of great urgency.

Scope of the Study
What is the problem HIV or lack of information? The problem is inadequate systemic education and information for youths about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. The problem is worldwide and is everybody’s problem. Youths around the world have not been able to protect themselves, nor learn the process of prevention against HIV/AIDS. The lack of aggressive education and information will have major impact on our young leaders of tomorrow. Background of HIV/AIDS

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a type of virus (a kind of germ) called a retrovirus, which causes HIV disease when it gets inside the human body. HIV can be passed from person to person through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex; by sharing needles or other injection equipment; from a pregnant woman to her fetus; and through breast milk. And HIV has to be present in the body fluids of one of the people involved it is infectious and contagious, meaning it is passed between people and does not spontaneously appear because of a certain behavior. Once HIV is inside the body, it infects cells of the immune system, which is your body's defense against cancer and foreign invaders like bacteria and other viruses. The course of HIV disease is different for different people. With enough time and without adequate treatment, HIV can cause severe damage to the immune system. HIV by itself is not an illness and does not instantly lead to AIDS. An HIV-infected person can lead a healthy life for several years before he/she develops AIDS. AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the stage of HIV disease in which the body's immune system becomes severely damaged and infections (known as opportunistic infections or OIs for short) develop which would...
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