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Learn the link between drug abuse and the spread of HIV infection in the United States.
How are Teens Affected?

A young girl sitting in a café is sending a text message about HIV/AIDS to her friendYoung people are at risk for contracting HIV. According to the CDC, almost 10,000 young people ages 13 to 24 in the United States had been diagnosed with HIV by the end of 2010. [*]

Some populations are impacted more than others. African Americans ages 13 to 24 represent only 15 percent of the U.S. teenage population, but accounted for 59 percent of new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2010. The reasons for this disparity are not completely understood. In fact, African American youth have lower rates of drug abuse than Whites and Hispanics. This remains a strong research priority area for NIDA. [**]

In general, middle and late adolescence is a time when young people engage in risk-taking and sensation-seeking behaviors. Regardless of whether a young person takes drugs, unsafe sexual practices increase a person's risk of contracting HIV. But drugs and alcohol can increase the chances of unsafe behavior by altering judgment and decision-making.

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Basic Statistics (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#aidcases). Retrieved June 2012.
** Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Diagnoses of HIV Infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2010, HIV Surveillance Report, Volume 22 (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2010report/index.htm). Retrieved June 2012.
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.