National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS

More than three and a half decades have passed since the first case of AIDS. An entire generation has been born and grown up without ever knowing a time when HIV did not exist, and they may be the first to see it end.

While there is no cure for HIV, experts say we have the knowledge and tools today that could lead to the eradication of the disease. Antiretrovirals (or ARVs), the medications used to treat HIV, work to reduce the viral load to levels undetectable by standard lab tests. Studies show that when the viral load is less than 200 copies of virus per milliliter of blood, long-term health is greatly improved and sexual transmission of the virus is extremely unlikely, if not impossible.[i]

For those who do not have HIV, PrEP (short for pre-exposure prophylaxis), an FDA approved once daily pill, offers another means of protection. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective in protecting against HIV.[ii] PrEP is also a significant advance in that it provides women with the first HIV prevention tool that they can control themselves.

To provide more insight into the knowledge, attitudes and experiences of young adults in the U.S. at this critical time in the epidemic, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a comprehensive nationally representative survey of 1,794 18-30 year olds between January 25-February 16, 2017. Given the disproportionate impact of HIV on Black and Latino populations, oversamples of these groups were included to provide a more in-depth look by race.


[i] Journal of the American Medical Association, July 12, 2016; New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 1, 2016

[ii] New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 30, 2010; Science Translational Medicine, Sept. 12, 2012; New England Journal of Medicine, Aug. 2, 2012

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