In recent years there has been an alarming surge of HIV infection among adolescents, especially among female adolescents. Speaking at a presentation in the Medicine for the Public lecture series, Dr. Lauren Wood of the National Cancer Institute, discusses one factor that may be contributing to this increase in infections.
"I think the reason why we're seeing increasing infections, particularly in teenage women, is because the major mode of acquisition is shifting in this country and the heterosexual epidemic is maturing. Adolescent males tend to get HIV infection from having sex with other men. In contrast, the majority of adolescent females who get HIV from sex actually get it through heterosexual contact. The most important thing is that the majority of teenagers who do end up having HIV infection and AIDS weren't aware of the fact that their sexual partner had HIV infection or was at risk for HIV infection."
This is Calvin Jackson, the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.