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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Marks First-Ever National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Apr 10, 2013 - Washington, D.C. - After years of raising awareness about the global and domestic AIDS epidemic, today Congresswoman Lee recognized April 10th as National Youth HIV/Awareness Day.

"We can achieve an AIDS free generation, and a key part of doing that is engaging young people and including them in the conversation," said Congresswoman Lee. "Young people carry an unequal burden in this epidemic, but they also play a central role in the fight against it."

Close to 76,400 young people (defined by ages 13-24) currently live with HIV in the United States, and only 40% know their status. Today, young people under age 30 represent about 40% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. though account for only 21% of the population. This epidemic particularly affects communities of color: African-American youth represent 60% of new infections among all young people.

Last summer, in a letter to President Obama calling for a National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Congresswoman, along with several other Members of Congress, underscored the importance of the President's support saying, "On World AIDS Day in 2011, you called for an "AIDS-free generation." In order to reach this goal, we cannot forget the next generation-young people. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that our nation's HIV and AIDS efforts include and empower young people."

As part of National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Congresswoman Lee introduced a bicameral resolution recognizing the importance of interventions, which include youth friendly services, access to healthcare, clinically and culturally appropriate health education, safe and inclusive schools and communities, and family acceptance.

In marking this important day, the Department of Health and Human Services recognized the " key role of youth in our collective response to HIV," as well as highlighting that this is a "call to action. We need an all-hands-on-deck response from communities, schools, governments, and organizations - as well as the recognition of young people as key partners in the HIV & AIDS movement."

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SOURCE: Congresswoman Barbara Lee


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