Women’s Health Program, Department of Health and Human
Services Montgomery County Government, Volume 7 Issue - Winter
2004, page 10
AIDS 2004 — Lost in Translation: The Good News
& the Bad News
Mary Lee O’Connell, CRNP, Sexuality Educator
Medical advances can enable persons diagnosed with HIV infection
live longer lives. This is the “good news” but
it is somehow getting lost in the
translation. More and more teachers are reporting the “bad
news.” Students now
view HIV infection and AIDS as something a person just lives
with instead of
something that a person dies from.
Teachers continue to report that many students don’t
realize their behaviors are
putting them at risk. With powerful antiviral medication prolonging
persons’ lives, some students view HIV infection like
diabetes—you just take
medicine for it. They do not realize that these medicines
must be taken 100% of
the time to work and prevent the HIV infection from becoming
resistant to them.
The medicines are also very toxic, can cause kidney stones
and/or destroy the liver.
Some still think of AIDS as a disease only gay persons or
intravenous drug users get.
Everyone who works with youth has to continue to share the
- 123,000 young adults develop AIDS in their 20s
- half of new HIV infections are in young people 15-24 yrs.
These young people were infected as teens.
- 2 teens get infected each hour.
- Women are the fastest growing HIV+ group.
- 52% of women are infected by heterosexual sex.
- African American & Hispanic youth, 13-19 yrs., are
15% of U.S. teens but they have 67% of HIV infections.
- Only 44% of HIV-positive teens take their antiviral medicine
all of the time.
- Teens having anal sex or using alcohol & drugs have
a higher risk of STDs/HIV infection.
- The greater the number of sexual partners, the greater
the risk of HIV infection.
- Most teens don’t know they are infected.
Let teens know where they can get help
Montgomery County’s Dennis Avenue Health Center
(240-777-1760) provides free, confidential, counseling, testing
and treatment by appointment.
Located at 2000 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20902
AIDS Hotline for Teens – M-F, 3-7
PM , 1-800-234-TEEN