At least two teenagers and young adults in America are infected with HIV every hour of every day
Between 40,000 and 50,000 Americans become infected with HIV every year. Half of them are between the ages of 13 and 24. That means at least two teenagers and young adults in this country are infected with HIV every hour of every day.
People infected with HIV carry the virus in their body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. The virus can spread only if these HIV-infected fluids enter the bloodstream of another person.
This can take place (1) through the linings of the vagina, rectum, mouth, or the opening at the tip of the penis; (2) through intravenous injection with a syringe; or (3) through a break in the skin, such as a cut or sore. The most common ways that people become HIV-infected are:
Unprotected sexual intercourse (either vaginal or anal) with someone who has HIV.
Unprotected oral sex with someone who has HIV.
Sharing needles or syringes (including those used for steroids) with someone who has HIV.
Infection during pregnancy, childbirth, or breast-feeding.
There are close to one million Americans living with HIV/AIDS. Roughly 25% of them became infected when they were teenagers, and the rate of infection among young people is rising.