AIDS is a Deeply Personal as well as Societal Concern for Young Americans of Color

Nearly three times as many Black teens and young adults, and twice as many Latino youth, say HIV/AIDS is an issue that concerns them personally as compared to whites the same age, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 15-24 year olds in the United States.

One in two (49%) Black youth say they are “very concerned” personally about HIV/AIDS today, another 21 percent say they are at least “somewhat concerned;” by comparison, only a third of whites express any personal concern (17% “very” and 18% “somewhat”). Latinos of the same age fall in the middle with 32 percent saying they are “very concerned” personally, and another 16 percent, “somewhat concerned.”

Three in four youth today say HIV/AIDS is a serious issue for their generation (44% “very” and 34% “somewhat”). As with personal concern, young people of color – those from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the disease – are more likely to see HIV/AIDS as a significant issue for others their age. Twice as many Black (62%) and Latino youth (61%) say HIV/AIDS is “very serious” issue for their generation, as compared with whites of the same age (32%).

More than 30 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed, one in three (33%) young people say there is still “a lot” of stigma around HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and another 51 percent say there is at least “some.”  When asked about their own feelings about HIV, a majority say they would be “comfortable” having a close friend who is HIV-positive (58%) or working with someone who is positive (54%), yet 62 percent say they would be uncomfortable having a roommate who is positive and 86 percent say they would be uncomfortable being in a relationship with someone who is positive.

Population of focus: African American and Latino youth

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Organization: Kaiser Family Foundation

Date: 2012