News Release

June 9, 2010

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

HIV Infection Rates Rising Among Minority Youth

Voluntary Health Screenings Being Offered at Educational Event June 24

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Due to the alarming increase in HIV infection rates among young people of color, an informational event offering voluntary health screenings will be held Thursday, June 24, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Educational Resource Center, 560 Hudson Street, Hartford. The Pediatric and Youth HIV Program (a partnership between the University of Connecticut Health Center and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) in collaboration with the Hartford Youth HIV Identification and Linkage (HYHIL) Consortia are co-sponsoring the event.

Individuals of minority races and ethnicities are at notable risk of acquiring HIV, particularly young male to male sexual (MSM) contacts. According to the Centers for Disease Control, having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can raise the risk of HIV infection up to five times the rate of someone without an STD. In 2006, there was a 93 percent increase in HIV/AIDS diagnoses among young black MSM contacts between the ages of 13 and 24.

The outreach effort set forth by the HYHIL agencies is an attempt to increase the number of MSM youth who learn their HIV status and are linked into medical care. “HIV is affecting young people of color at alarming rates and we as providers must do something,” says Nilda Fernandez, coordinator of the HYHIL consortium. HYHIL will be collaborating with the House of Pandorah, Southside Institution Neighborhood Alliance and other community agencies to provide voluntary health screenings for HIV and STDs.

National HIV Testing Day, June 27, is an annual observance to promote HIV testing. The National Association of People with AIDS founded the day in 1995.

The HYHIL Consortia is made up of agencies across the Greater Hartford area including Latino Community Services, the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, AIDS Project Hartford, AIDS Legal Network, City of Hartford Health and Human Services Department AIDS Program, CT AIDS Resource Coalition, Abbott Virology, Charter Oak Health Center, and the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut.

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