A study has directed healthcare providers to encourage young men who engage in sexual activity with other men to get tested for HIV. Study pioneer, Dr. Bill G Kopogiannis, has exposed that an alarming thirty percent of such tests have come out positive and that the risk that HIV poses needs immediate attention from the youth of all nations.
Dr. Kopogiannis is the scientific director of the Adolescent Medical Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions and studied participants within the age range of 12-24 and who had a history of sexual intercourse with other men. The participants were selected based on their enrollment in government sponsored treatment and research programs.
The analysis for the Dr. Kopogiannis’ research was done by scientists who focused attention on the health records of young men diagnosed with HIV. The findings from the analysis indicated that a majority among the test group had a high presence of the HIV virus in their blood streams. This proved that the infection from HIV was detected at a very early stage, ensuring greater ability to fight against any serious damage to the body from the infection.
The researchers were worried about the alarming risk that this particular group of HIV positive young men posed to other male members they were sexually engaged with. The cases often go undetected for a period of time, making transmission easier from one partner to another.
Earlier studies have suggested an estimated 45 percent of fresh HIV cases diagnosed have been among individuals in the 15-24 age groups. Close to 95 percent of the new cases still emerge at a high rate from developing nations in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. However, one should not ignore the inflated population levels and lack of basic awareness in such countries.
Developed nations having comparatively lesser population with greater education and awareness standards should be ideally reporting fewer cases. However, the fact remains contrary as the developed countries also continue to report a high level of HIV cases among the youth.
Forty-five states in the year of 2006 reported close to 46,000 cases from within the 13 to 24 age group. This comprises of an estimated sixteen percent of the total infections reported in that year. Even in 2006, it was reported that youth of color and men having sex with men are at the highest risk of exposure to HIV infection and yet nothing seems to be changing.
This rate of sexually transmitted HIV needs to controlled at a faster rate and the responsibility needs to be taken by the healthcare workers. The urgency which can be shown and executed by these health providers should be given importance since they are working on the field in close coordination with the affected demography of youth.
The focus should also not be shifted from the minority colored youth who are also equally at high risk. As Kapogiannis puts it, complacency is not a desired environment to be in right now.
With one in every four cases of new HIV infections being reported among the young population of the country, the alarming risk that lack of awareness, resistance to testing and treatment puts others at risk to the infection.
Editorial By Daris Abraham