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Teens, Young Adults Exposing Themselves to HIV and AIDS
  Fort Worth Star-Telegram
John Gutierrez-Mier
Increasingly, and for a variety of reasons, teenagers andyoung adults are becoming infected with HIV, say health officials.
Of the 40,000 people in the United States whom CDC estimatesbecame infected with HIV in 2003, half were under 25, and aquarter were under 21. "This is a new generation that has not beenpersonally exposed to AIDS or HIV," said Karlie Stanton, a CDCspokesperson. "Some young people think there's a cure, but that'sa mistake."
"It seems like some of the younger generation is taking theattitude of 'Oh well, if I get AIDS I can take medicine and I'llbe fine,'" said Dara Austin, executive director of AIDS OutreachCenter of Metropolitan Tarrant County in Texas. There are "so manythings that they don't understand. So many of them, even youngadults up to the age of 30, have never seen anyone die of AIDS."
"People often ask, 'Why do you tell everyone that you haveAIDS?'" said Lady Hogan, 50, a Fort Worth consumer advocate andsocial worker who works with pediatric AIDS patients and motherswith HIV/AIDS. Hogan, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1993, speaksto various groups, including youths, about HIV/AIDS. "I tell thembecause nobody ever told me."
Hogan's experience with AIDS medication usually helps get themessage of safe sex and prevention across to young people, shesaid. "I learned to throw up in a strainer because the pills wereso expensive," she said, recalling how she would sometimes vomitimmediately after taking a pill. "It isn't easy. Your hair mightfall out and you're always feeling sick."
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