Texas AIDS Deaths Decline, But More Youths HIV Positive
It's a brutal fact that with an incurable sexually transmitted disease like AIDS, there's a never ending supply of young people who need to be educated about HIV and AIDS, and how to protect themselves from it. Tragically, many don't learn until their doctor tells them they have it.
Texans diagnosed with HIV are living longer, but the growing number of teens and young adults testing positive will put greater demands on the health care system in the future, according to the latest state profile tracking the virus that causes the deadly disease.
The report from the Texas Department of State Health Services reveals fewer AIDS deaths statewide -- but the numbers of infected teens and young adults 15 to 24 are alarming. Overall, the number of HIV-positive Texans has increased 36 percent since 2004 - from 47,986 to 65,077.
This is happening because people are living longer with the disease, says Jeff Hitt, the state health department's manager for HIV/STD prevention. If more people have it, more young people will get it from them and spread it to others.
Another HIV expert says the immature ignorance of the young is a big part of the problem. "You're talking about young people who are coming into their sexual prime who probably aren't doing anything different than young people years ago."
40 and 50 years ago young people could be as sexually active as they wanted to be, and other than pregnancy, there were few serious consequences.
It's not that way anymore, but few adolescents coming into their teens know that. They don't know that we're all now living in a world with HIV.