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Author Topic: How to stop the spread of HIV in Teens ?  (Read 2394 times)

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Offline random

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How to stop the spread of HIV in Teens ?
« on: July 07, 2014, 05:31:39 am »

I'm doing some volunteer work at a local HIV organization, since I don't have any medical experience I mostly do clerical work.

A little background, I'm hiv negative, but have chronic prostatitis which is a disease that has severe impact in peoples quality of life, I seeked counseling and decided that voluntering was a good way to help me, while helping others. I had an hiv scare a few months ago and I'm fully aware of the stigma this virus still has, so I chose to volunter at an HIV organization.

Now the question, in my country hiv as been declining in the so called "risk groups", among gay people a lot of work has been done, thank's to the effort of LGBT's organizations, and while there are still new cases they have been declinig, among IV drug users needle exchange programs really helped in halting the spread of the virus. The main issue today is heterosexual transmission, hiv has lost is space in the spotlight, and unless people seek information, the information is not reaching people.
The most troubling problem tough, is the spread of the virus among young people, I'm talking about kid's as young as 12 years old, kids are starting to have sex sooner this days, and are not scared of hiv as we were, they look at the virus as something easy to handle, and with the availability of other birth control methods they just don't want to bother using a condom, some say, that they rather take a pill for the rest of their lifes to keep HIV at bay, than to use condoms.

We have no money to make big campaigns, and we don't really know if that will make a difference as kids already know a lot about virus transmission, we also don't believe in scare tactics or providing children with skewed information, the truth is that for most patients HIV is a pretty managable condition, and we don't say otherwise, but is always better to be negative. Counselors try to spread this message, that altough HIV is manageable in most cases it is still a serious condition, but we are still seeing new cases of HIV in kids as young as 12 yo through sexual transmission.

I really don't know if I should be posting this here, but I just wanted to know if any of you had ideias on how to stop the spread of the virus in kids. We are currently pressuring GP's to ask kids about they sexual background and to getting them tested, it's not easy, if a 12 yo goes to the doctor with some kind of infection, the last thing on the doctor's mind is HIV, so many cases are only found when severe OI's are present, and trust me is pretty hard for the parents to hear that their son/daughter  has aids. I talked to a few and they feel that they have failed as parents, it really takes a huge toll on them.

There are brave people out here, that despite the stigma still talk openly about their status and try to encourage kids to use protection, but still many don't, even tough they are perfectly aware that they are putting themselfs at risk, the fear of HIV is gone in the younger generations it seems and this can have devastating consequences, every hiv patient has access to free healthcare and medication, but with the major economic crisis we are going through who knows how thing will be in the next years ?

Offline MaxellSmith

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Re: How to stop the spread of HIV in Teens ?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 06:48:18 am »
This is a very harsh topic. Governments have sistematically ignored HIV in my country, as it is now a 'manageable' disease, and in consequence the number of people HIV+ is increasing dramatically. Only in the last month my bf was diagnosed, as well as 2 other close friends. Some say that in my country (Spain) the situation can be that in 10 years 40% of the gay male people will be HIV+. We haven't talked about HIV or AIDS in public spaces since the last campaigns in the 90s. With the arrival of ARV therapy the government decided it wasn't a big issue they should spend their money on and then stopped doing public campaigns (you do see the odd campaign from time to time, but the message is obviously not getting through, and most people don't talk about it or are completely ignorant about the dangers of acquiring the virus).
As a consequence of this, not only HIV cases are increasing in the gay population, but also among young people. I was born in the 80s, so my generation didn't go though the AIDS epidemics per se (we knew there was a disease that was killing people and that it was called AIDS, but we were kids and weren't really scared about that). Modern ARV therapies came when I was 15 years old. So we didn't really see anyone die (at least most of us). It wasn't that scary. Now, imagine younger generations born during the 2000s. They have no clue about the virus. Probably many of them get to know it when they get infected, and never before had heard about it. HIV exists for them, but it is something you can live with if you take a pill a day. How can you make them think it is not that easy to live infected and that it is really a very serious illness? Probably more campaigns, more sexual education, and more money on prevention (things that most countries won't do right now due to the economic situation and prejudices). I guess kids only go to your organization when they have already been infected, is that right? then maybe you should consider doing some prevention campaigns with schools. Talking to GPs is an idea, but kids won't admit they are having sex if their parents are in front of them them when visiting the doctor (and in many cases, in small towns those doctors know their families, so they won't talk to them). It is easier to talk to them in their own environment, the school. They will laugh, they will make fun, but the message will get through, and when they need the info they will know where they can get it.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 06:51:04 am by MaxellSmith »

Offline random

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Re: How to stop the spread of HIV in Teens ?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 09:56:26 am »
I'm in europe also and because of the economic crisis, hiv prevention is not a priority anymore, and even more worrisome is the lack of early detection,despicte the fact that anybody here can take a free, anonymous test most people don't get tested, usually those who do are young people in their late 20's, early 30's, it's very rare to see someone older, to make the situation worse doctors don't pay attention to some warning signs and usually don't recomend an hiv test to their patients even when they have had risk behaviours, it's like most people are living in denial, hiv is just a virus, and it should be treated as such, people should be encouraged to get tested by their doctors, not forced obviously, but I think that doctors, specially GP's should talk openly about it with their patients, even if they are teenagers or even older people, yes hiv has been on the rise among senior citizens too.

I think that talking openly about it will go a long way, the more hiv positive people I meet the more I realize that hiv is still tabu, that even now in 2014 someone with hiv can't still talk about their condition with others, that even some medical professionals stigmatize them.
We need to make hiv "normal" it's a virus not a stamp that we should put on people, it's not something that defines a person, it's not a virus that only attacks bad people, everybody at one point or another in their lifes have made mistakes and putted themselfs at risk, nobody is a better or worse person because they are positive or negative.

As for kids, we need to open our eyes, teenagers are having sex, that is a fact, it is also a fact that teenagers are having unprotected sex, so we need to stop denying this reality and urge anyone who is sexually active to get tested and to use protection, we cannot by any means ignore any of this.

Offline Jeff G

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Re: How to stop the spread of HIV in Teens ?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 10:01:46 am »
Hi Random . If you read the forum rules you would know you are not allowed to post outside of your one thread in AM I INFECTED . Please do not do it again . Im locking this thread .
HIV 101 - Basics
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