National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) on April 10 is a time for young people to realize we have the power to change the course of the HIV epidemic.
(NYHAAD is also an opportunity to say “thank you” to the HIV service organizations, healthcare providers, and health educators working to inform young people about HIV and COVID-19, while continuing to provide critical support for all people living with, or at risk for, HIV.)
Advocates for Youth, the community lead for NYHAAD, promotes the observance as an opportunity to educate the public about how HIV affects young people in the U.S. NYHAAD also spotlights the advocacy of young people who are working to promote HIV testing, link people living with HIV to services, and provide HIV education to their peers.
Sharing this information is important and will make a big difference for many young people who may not realize the HIV epidemic continues to affect countless individuals, families, and communities across the globe. Visit CDC for more information and resources on NYHAAD.
It’s important for young people to join the movement to end HIV transmission. Get tested, learn about new ways to prevent getting HIV, and if positive, get into care quickly. Don’t wait. The Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative gives us an opportunity to help our generation continue to live long healthy lives and envision a world where the HIV epidemic is history because new transmissions will be rare.
I learned early that I had a role to play in responding to HIV. I was in high school when I was offered an internship at the University of Maryland Medical School’s Institute of Human Virology. I studied how lowering stress levels help people living with HIV stay healthy—and this work helped me learn about the needs of communities dealing with HIV.
As I went through college, served as a Peace Corps volunteer, worked with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and attended graduate school, my experience with HIV gave me important insights into ways to help end the epidemic. Now, I’m working on a DrPH in infectious disease while serving as part of the team from the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy, which coordinates the implementation of the EHE initiative.
We can help promote the medications that protect against HIV transmission:
- When taken daily, PrEP medications can protect someone from getting HIV through sex or sharing needles. Check out the Ready, Set, PrEP program to see if PrEP is right for you and if you may be eligible for free PrEP medications!
- If taken within 72 hours after you have been exposed to HIV, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) can also protect you.
April 10 is a great day to make a difference in the world. No matter how young we are, we have an opportunity to raise our voices and be public health leaders in our communities.
Check out the information on HIV.gov’s HIV Basics pages and join me in educating yourself, your friends, and your family about HIV to help us end the HIV epidemic!