"The great burden we have as Americans is that when we have to deal with something new, too often we can't deal with it from imagination and empathy, we have to actually experience it first. I do not want to wait until every single family has somebody die before we have a good policy on HIV and AIDS."
President Clinton, December 6, 1995
This examination of youth and HIV revealed five common themes that require action at all levels of American society, including the Federal government. There is strong consensus among scientists, health care providers, community leaders, and young people themselves on these matters. They are:
Government has three central responsibilities in leading our country's battle
against HIV and AIDS:
During the past three years, the Clinton Administration has sought to fulfill these obligations by submitting budgets that would increase overall funding for AIDS-related research by 40 percent. Funding for AIDS-related research has been increased by 26 percent and the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health has been strengthened. Funding for AIDS prevention efforts has been increased by and a new community planning process has directly involved local organizations in the design of prevention programs. Funding for AIDS-related care has increased by 90 percent, including a 108 percent increase in money going to the Ryan White CARE Act. New efforts have been made to involve young people in each of these areas. The government has vigorously enforced provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibiting discrimination against people living with HIV and approval time for AIDS-related drugs has been cut in half.
In conjunction with this report, the following new initiatives are should be undertaken:
Listening to the Voices of Youth. Young people should be encouraged and empowered to have a voice in the development and implementation of HIV/AIDS research prevention, and care efforts. The Federal government should take the following steps to assure that voice is heard:
the Impact of HIV on Youth. Sufficient scientific information exists
to indicate that HIV may behave differently in infected adolescents and
that there are adolescent-specific health-care needs and treatment protocols
that must be identified in order to respond effectively. The following
steps are being taken to assure that this occurs:
Examining the Impact of HIV on Youth. Sufficient scientific information exists to indicate that HIV may behave differently in infected adolescents and that there are adolescent-specific health-care needs and treatment protocols that must be identified in order to respond effectively. The following steps are being taken to assure that this occurs:
Making Informed Decisions. HIV counseling and voluntary testing provide an important bridge between HIV prevention and care. To assure that young people have access to such services, the following steps are being taken:
Any effort to protect young Americans from the threat of HIV and AIDS cannot begin and end with the Federal government. These Federal should serve as the catalyst for action on all levels of society. Throughout the history of the epidemic, states, localities, communities, schools, churches, synagogues, private foundations, and voluntary charitable organizations have been actively committed to combating the spread of HIV. These efforts should continue and be expanded. The Federal government seeks and looks forward to a closer partnership with communities involved in this effort and pledges its continuing support for the critical work being done.