Risky Teen Behavior Giving AIDS New Life

Posted July 24th, 2012 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A new study suggests that risky sexual behavior, especially among teens, is hindering the fight to halt the spread of AIDS.

The survey, released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that efforts to curb risky behavior in American teens have stalled over the past 10 years. Researchers say it is especially concerning given the large percentage of new AIDS cases in people under the age of 30.

Despite those concerns, researchers say they remain optimistic they are getting closer to finding a cure. Some are pointing to American Timothy Ray Brown, who is believed to be the first person cured of AIDS. Brown told the International AIDS Conference in Washington Tuesday that he remains cured, contrary to some recent reports.

The United Nations says 34 million people live with HIV/AIDS. About 1.7 million people died from the disease in 2011.

Day three of the major international conference also saw U.S. scientists announce a new research initiative designed to help women protect themselves against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The National Institutes of Health said thousand of women in Africa will be able to volunteer for a study on the use of a vaginal ring coated with an anti-AIDS drug. NIH researchers say that unlike previous prevention treatments – which had to be applied before intercourse – the new ring would only have to be inserted once a month.

Half of the worlds HIV-infected population is female. In Africa, women make up about 60 percent of all HIV patients.

Several groups joined forces Tuesday to stage protests in Washington in an attempt to bring more attention to AIDS. The protesters snarled traffic and several arrests were reported.