Epidemiological Profile of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota
Risk Populations: Adolescents and Young Adults
HIV/AIDS Prevalence among Adolescents and Young Adults
Adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 years account for 4 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota in 2012. This percent has stayed stable over the past 5 years, however youth and adolescents are accounting for an increased percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in recent years.
Many people are infected with HIV for years before they actually seek testing and become aware of their HIV status. This phenomenon especially affects the observed case counts for younger age groups. And as a result, the reported number of HIV infections among youth (with few or no reports of AIDS at first diagnosis) is more likely to underestimate the true number of new infections occurring in this age group compared to older age groups.
HIV Diagnoses among Adolescents and Young Adults
In 1990, 10 percent of new HIV infections reported to MDH were among youth. In 2012 this percentage was 19 percent. Since 2001, the number of new cases among young males has been increasing steadily, a few cases per year. However, in 2009 the number of cases increased dramatically by 83 percent compared to 2008, to 79 cases, the highest seen since 1986. In 2012, the number of cases increased from 47 in 2011 to 55. Of these 55 new cases among adolescent and young adult men, 31 (56%) were among MSM of color. Since 2003, the number of cases among young males has increased by about 130 percent.
Unlike young men, the annual number of new HIV infections diagnosed among young women has remained relatively consistent over time. However, since 2009, the number of new HIV infections diagnosed among young women has decreased consistently. In 2012 there were four cases diagnosed among young women. Females accounted for 7 percent (4/59) of new HIV infections diagnosed among adolescents and young adults in 2012.
Overall, young women accounted for 7 percent (4/60) of new infections among females and young males accounted for 22 percent (55/255) of new infections among males in 2012.
Similar to the adult HIV/AIDS epidemic, persons of color account for a disproportionate number of new HIV infections among adolescents and young adults. Among young men, Whites accounted for 40 percent of new HIV infections diagnosed between 2010 and 2012, African Americans accounted for 40 percent, and Hispanics 11 percent. American Indians, Asians and other racial groups made up 4 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent of the remaining cases, respectively. Among young women, Whites accounted for 39 percent, African-born 26 percent, African Americans 18 percent, American Indians 9 percent, Hispanics 4 percent, and Asian/Pacific Islanders 4 percent of the new infections diagnosed during the same time period.
By Mode of Exposure
Men who have sex with men was the predominant mode of HIV exposure among adolescent and young adult males, accounting for an estimated 93 percent of the new HIV infections diagnosed between 2010 and 2012, while the joint risk of MSM and injecting drug use (IDU) accounted for an estimated 5 percent of the cases in the same time period. Heterosexual sex accounted for an estimated 2 percent of cases. Heterosexual contact accounted for an estimated 100 percent of new HIV infections diagnosed among adolescent and young adult females between 2010 and 2012.
HIV Treatment Cascade among Adolescents and Young Adults
Although the HIV Treatment Cascade (PDF: 952KB/2 pages) for young people includes people living with HIV/AIDS up to age 29, the general trend can be seen for adolescents and young adults. There were 685 HIV positive persons aged 13-29 included in the treatment cascade analyses and 84 cases in this age group reported in 2011 that were included in the linkage to care calculation. People age 13-29 have lower linkage to care and viral suppression than the overall Minnesota cascade.