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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”



Youth & HIV Statistics

According to a recent report issued by the Office of National AIDS Policy: The White House -- Youth and HIV/AIDS 2000: A New American Agenda -- young people continue to remain at significant risk for HIV infection. Consider this:

1.      Young Americans between the ages of 13 and 24 are still contracting HIV at the rate of 2 per hour.

2.      Half of all new infections are thought to occur in people under 25.

3.      Each year 3,000 adolescents contract sexually transmitted diseases, which is about one in four sexually experienced teens.

4.      Almost 50% of teachers who teach about HIV/AIDS reported spending only one or two class periods on the topic.

5.      Twenty-five percent of U.S. high school students said that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they last engaged in sexual activity.

6.      In a recent survey, 87% of young Americans said they do not believe they are at risk for HIV infection.



Also, LIAAC has found that:

1.      Using alcohol and drugs greatly increases the chance that young people will place themselves at risk for HIV, even when they plan to practice safer behavior.


2.      Teens report that parents seem to be uncomfortable and reluctant when discussing ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

At LIAAC we know all too well that there are human faces behind these statistics. That’s why our Prevention Education staff focus so much of their skill and expertise on reaching out to youth on Long Island, where there are more cases of AIDS than half the states in America.

If you are a young person living on Long Island, there are lots of ways to get involved to learn how to protect yourself and your peers. Two recent examples include:

Parent/Teen Discussions
LIAAC has sponsored two-part joint learning experiences to encourage communication between parents and teens. In the first session, parents are trained by LIAAC staff and given tips on how to discuss HIV prevention issues with their teens. In the next session, a group of teens participate in an HIV/AIDS discussion. The previously trained parents serve as a panel and the teens in attendance are able to ask the panel HIV-related questions. The LIAAC educator is present to offer technical assistance to the panel.



Theatre Workshops
With community leaders in Roosevelt, LIAAC participated in a theatre workshop event this year, where adolescents wrote, produced, directed and performed in an autobiographical play about a woman living with AIDS. A LIAAC educator provided important and accurate information to the teens about what it means to live with HIV disease, and how AIDS impacts the community as a whole.

Often, after participating in a LIAAC education program, teens will want to know how they can make a difference for Long Islanders living with AIDS. Junior high school and high school students have several opportunities for community service at LIAAC. For example:

·         Every fall, teens from Commack High School organize a food drive for LIAAC clients, to supports our Thanksgiving activities. Over 200 families receive a turkey delivery, as well as grocery bags stuffed with necessities and special treats for our clients experiencing financial hardship and chronic illness.

·         In preparation for the winter holidays, Wantagh High School students recently spent hours at LIAAC wrapping donated toys. Each December, LIAAC hosts holiday parties for families living with HIV/AIDS, and after a hot buffet, dancing and games, "Santa" distributes these toys to over 150 children.

·         Long Island teens show that they are the hope for the future through their enormous presence at LIAAC’s AIDS Walk, held every October. Thousands of teens from Hempstead to Setauket form teams and raise pledges to support LIAAC program services.