Aids in American Youth
Length: 1827 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)
There are more than 40 million people in the world with the disease known as AIDS(Bender 6). There are about 1 million people in America recorded to have the disease(Carasso). While anybody can get AIDS the people who are at the highest risk are youth between under the age of 20 years old(Carasso). This epidemic which came about in the early 80’s has become a deadly problem in our world today. When AIDS came about it is understood that it was only a gay disease in the 80’s, which would cause for this disease to spread rapidly. With the gay community not being the most acknowledge group of people in this decade no one cared that it was happening to them. The disease could have been drastically reduced if people would have known this virus wasn’t passed by, sex nor was it a gay disease only. In fact the disease was initially known as GRID (Gay Related Immune Disorder). In the 80’s almost no one used condoms, which made it easy for the transmission, especially when people didn’t know it was sexually translated. Aids has become a problem that every country is faced with, especially Africa with 1 out of 10 being effected with this virus. Some countries in Africa have nearly 50% of its population effected with this disease. The virus of AIDS could have been reduced drastically if people wanted to face the fact that it is sexually transmitted.
The disease of AIDS can be passed from person to person several ways. The first, and the most common is through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is by far the greatest risk for contracting the disease. The reason that sex is the most common is because of the friction caused by having sex. For the most part women are more likely to contract the disease, in fact they have a 3 out of 4 chance to catch the disease to a males, 1 out of 4. The other major way, and probably the second leading way to contract the Virus is through sharing a drug needle. Using drugs such as Heroin which calls for an injection of a liquid substance directly into a vein of a person can cause a major transition of blood from one person to another (DeCarlo, Lurie AIDS123).
The last and the most unlikely way to get Aids is through a blood transfusion. This was one of the major ways this disease was passed in its early beginnings. With the people Government believing that it was only a gay disease that was only possible for gay people to get lead to people not wanting to believe it was in the blood. When people would come, and give blood to the Red Cross they would have Aids in it. This would lead to many people getting the disease without even knowing(Carasso). If people, had known that AIDS was passed by blood there would have been less people who would contract the Virus.
It is a scientific fact that, kids who use drugs and Alcohol has increased risky sexual behavior. With drug use in teens it makes their thinking hazy which increases sexual activity(Carraso). With kids beginning to use hard alcohol at a young puts these kids at a high, high risk. Alcohol causes youth to have more sex than any other drug. In a research project with 878 adolescents, found that 77% of sexually active girls believe that having sex is easier when they were intoxicated(Carasso). In another study it said that girls who had 5 drinks were 2.8 times more likely to not use a condom in sexual intercourse(Carasso).
With American youth being the group infected with the disease it is time that something needs to be done. One of the biggest things that can be done to help our youth to protect themselves in preventing the disease is to educate them in school. It is a fact that teens believe that they are immortal. This leaves them at a high risk to catch the virus. Some people say that teaching a kid about sex in school should not be allowed, or they don’t condone the act of sex which prevents them from educating youth about the disease. The Virus are killing our youth. In a study done over 137 schools 54% of kids were having sex(Ellerbee, AIDS 116). It is a fact that youth are not waiting anymore. So what needs to be done is schools need to teach them. The University of Dayton is one of the schools who don’t want to believe that kids are having sex. With this being a Catholic school they refuse to sell the only contraceptive for AIDS in a condom on campus. I can understand them not wanting to condone the act and give away condoms, but they should be sold on campus. On the other hand many people believe that teaching youth about sex, and students pictures of what the disease can do will help to prevent kids from even participating in sexual activities of any kind. Many of our youth don’t know about safe sex. The age group who should get this education should be teens between 18-25 because they are the most sexually active people(Loyce, AIDS1 35). However teachers and sex educators aren’t the only people responsible for teaching kids of STD’s. Parents need to be the main voice in their kids sex education. Its just a lot easier for teachers to talk to kids before parents. Parents often are embarrassed to talk to their kids about sex(reaching out). Youth listen to their parents more because they fear them more. In fact 37% of youth said that they were most influenced about sex by their parents(reaching out).
Kids now only use contraceptives for birth control. In half of active high school students asked why they use condoms, their response was for birth control(Carasso). Many youth whose girlfriends are on birth control don’t use condoms(Carasso). With sex ED programs in schools youth will learn, and understand that condoms are not for birth control but for AIDS. This leads to many people getting the disease, because AIDS can be in the system for years before a person knows that the disease is present in the blood stream. This leads to other prevention needs. People believe that informing the partner of sexual experiences will help to reduce the risk of getting the virus. Informing the person would reduce the partners behavior, maybe making them wear a condom which would help to prevent the virus(Smereck, AIDS 84). Besides condoms and partner notification the other way to prevent the virus is to get tested. Many people are scared to get tested especially for AIDS. With people getting tested they could track the virus(Smith, AIDS 42). This would make people aware, not that all people would care, because some people would still have sex as if they did not have the virus. Although some people will not stop some will, and these people will not pass it to any other person.
Everybody can get AIDS, this virus is not specified to one color, one race, one nationality, or one sex. Anyone can get it if they come in contact with it. Many factors can statistically give a certain group of people a higher risk to get an STD. Factors such as Abuse in the house hold. Youth that are abused sexually in the household are 7 times more likely to get an STD then those who come from good safe households(Carasso). This makes sense because youth that are abused tend to have less respect for themselves, making it common for them to have many sexual partners unsafely. drunk, because it is easier to have when you are drunk. Yet, there is really not one group of people who the virus likes more.
Gay youth are the most typically stereotyped, people to have the virus. For the record Male-to-Male stats as of right now is no higher with the use of a condom then women-to-male(Goodnow). Yes, the infection rate is higher with lack of using a condom, but that is the case with any people not using a condom. The reason that people believe that gays are more likely to getting the disease is because this is what was thought when it the disease came about. This belief was because the man who supposedly brought the disease to America was a gay man. Then the disease went down the line to bisexuals who crossed the disease over into main stream population of sexual involved youth. Bisexual males however are more acceptable to the disease then any other group of people. This is because people who have both types of sexual partners tend to use condoms less then those who only go one way(Carasso 208). Yet, it has been shown that AIDS in gay men is more likely to happen without a condom than with a male to female. Ten years ago gay men represented 50% of the people infected with the disease, and in a few years 30% of Californian men in their 20’s will be infected or dead in their 30’s because of this virus(Odets, AIDS 139). This is sad to know that 30% of a given states population will have a virus that will eventually kill them. AIDS has been a real problem in California, because of its gay population. It is not good to know that if 30% of California 20 year olds get the disease what will be the worldwide total percentage of people who get the disease.
With our young people being at the highest risk of getting an STD in their 20’s (Carasso) it is time that we do something about it. First, thing that needs to be done is to n make people aware. Stop putting the virus in the closet, and pretend that it doesn’t exist. People need to see that AIDS is a problem in America with more than 1 million people being infected with AIDS or HIV(Carasso) For so many years our country has neglected the fact that it is a problem in our country even greater in our world. Over 40 million people in the world have AIDS. Second, thing that is necessary that we must do as a people is to enforce prevention. Inform youth on what AIDS is and what it can do. Let kids know steps to prevent. America needs to stop believing that kids are going to wait until marriage to engage in sexual activities. This is not the new America, kids are being shown sex on TV, Music, Movies, and etc. Parents need to enforce condom usage. Even though these aren’t 100% they are more effective than using nothing. Schools need to stop pushing the subject to the side, but let the kids know the deal. Our world is suffering in a major way because of this disease, and there is nothing that we can do to stop it.