The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in four new HIV infections in the United States occurs in young people ages 13 to 24. Efforts to prevent transmission, as well as to ensure the right of young people with HIV to high-quality care and services, are a critical component of HIV advocacy. This advocacy must focus on the needs of the most vulnerable youth, such as youth of color and LGBTQ youth, who too frequently are treated as invisible in clinical and school-based sexual health services and education. Exclusion and discrimination at the hands of misinformed peers and adults alike is a regular side-effect of HIV infection among youth. Youth have a right to medical care, information, privacy, and dignity, and to have a voice in the policies that affect them.
This HIV Policy Resource Bank category includes legal and advocacy tools on issues such as adolescent autonomy and the right to consent to HIV diagnosis and care; sexual health rights and policies as they affect youth; state policies on minors’ access to treatment for sexually transmitted infections; reports on the funding and effectiveness of abstinence-only programming, and the needs and rights of youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.