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HIV Prevention and Community Outreach

Beginning March 1, 2013, Outreach Community Care Network will begin a new prevention intervention. The intervention called CLEAR is being provided as part of the High-Impact Prevention Models promoted by the CDC in Atlanta and is geared towards those already diagnosed HIV-positive. This multi-session one-on-one intervention allows individuals to recognize harmful behaviors and work towards developing ways to change behavior and lessen the risk of further negative behaviors. Understanding what triggers certain behaviors allows individuals to change those behaviors. If you are HIV-positive or a client of Outreach, join us! We welcome you!

Research has clearly shown that the most effective programs are comprehensive ones that include a focus on delaying sexual behavior and provide information on how sexually active young people can protect themselves. Evidence of prevention success can be seen in trends from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted over an 8-year period, which show both a decline in sexual risk behaviors and an increase in condom use among sexually active youth. The percentage of sexually experienced high school students decreased from 54.1% in 1991 to 49.9% in 1999, while condom use among sexually active students increased from 46.2% to 58.0%. These findings represent a reversal in the trend toward increased sexual risk among teens that began in the 1970s and point to the success of comprehensive prevention efforts to both delay first intercourse among teens and increase condom use among young people who are sexually active.

STD treatment must play a role in prevention programs for at risk individuals. An estimated 12 million cases of STDs other than HIV are diagnosed annually in the United States, and about two-thirds of those are among people under the age of 25. Research has shown that biological factors make people who are infected with an STD more likely to become infected with HIV if exposed sexually; and HIV-infected people with STDs also are more likely to transmit HIV to their sex partners. Expanding STD treatment is critical to reducing the consequences of these diseases and helping to reduce risks of transmitting HIV among youth.

Evaluation of factors influencing risk behavior must be ongoing. Both broad-based surveys of the extent of risk behaviors among young people and focused studies of the factors contributing to risk and behavioral intent among specific groups of adolescents must be conducted and analyzed.
For young people, it is critical to prevent patterns of risky behaviors before they start. HIV prevention efforts must be sustained and designed to reach each new generation of Americans.

 


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