National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: A Call to Action

Content From: Stephanie Zaza, MD, MPH, Director, Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPublished: April 10, 20172 min read


Photo of Kathleen Ethier

Addressing HIV in young people requires that we give them the tools they need to reduce their risk, make healthy decisions, and access treatment and care, if needed. This April 10, National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), take action and talk about the impact of HIV on youth and remind each other that investing in young people's health and education is a critical step to achieving not only an AIDS-free generation, but a healthy generation overall.

We do see encouraging signs that some risk behaviors for HIV are on the decline for youth; e.g., that fewer high school students are sexually active. Other health risk behaviors remain high and some populations of young people are at a higher risk still. NYHAAD is an important reminder of the ongoing health education and outreach that is needed to ensure all youth know the risks and learn how to stay healthy.

Education and public health agencies and other youth-serving organizations can work together to help young people adopt behaviors that prevent or reduce their risk for HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other poor health outcomes. For NYHAAD, CDC has launched the NYHAAD Resources web page that provides communication planning tools, including graphics, sample social media posts, survey results, and links to additional resources.

NYHAAD is an important day of awareness and action! But protecting our youth is a 24/7, 365 day per year responsibility. Thank you for supporting CDC and, more importantly, the work you do every day to improve the health of young people. Together, we can all make a difference in youth HIV prevention!