U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Adolescent and Young Adult HIV and AIDS

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a disease that destroys cells that are critical to a healthy immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is diagnosed when HIV has weakened the immune system enough that the body has difficulty fighting disease and infections. In 2007, an estimated 6,524 people aged 13–24 years were diagnosed with HIV,1 representing 16 percent of all cases. While the number of HIV diagnoses among children aged 13–14 years fluctuates from year to year, the number of diagnoses in the older age groups has increased steadily over the past several years. Between 2005 and 2007, estimated cases among adolescents aged 15–19 years increased by 35 percent and cases among young adults aged 20–24 years increased 18 percent.

In 2007, an estimated 226 adolescents and young adults died with an AIDS diagnosis, representing 1.3 percent of all deaths among persons with AIDS. Since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 10,450 persons aged 13–24 years have died with the disease. Deaths of persons with AIDS have generally decreased in recent years, due in part to the availability of effective prescription drugs to combat the disease.

Given the increase in diagnoses of HIV and the decrease in deaths, the number of people living with HIV has increased. In 2007, an estimated 24,358 people aged 13–24 years were living with HIV, representing 4.2 percent of all cases. Overall, the number of adolescents and young adults living with HIV has increased 15 percent since 2005.

1 Includes persons with a diagnosis of HIV infection regardless of stage of disease at diagnosis; therefore, this includes persons who are first diagnosed with HIV at the same time they are diagnosed with AIDS.

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