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President John F. Kennedy once stated “children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future” (JFK Library, N.D.).  Children are very important to our society and our world, and an important vulnerable population to discuss.  A healthcare concern both nationally and globally for children is HIV.
            In 2018, there were over 37,000 new cases of HIV diagnosed in the United States, and 21% of those cases were youth aged thirteen to twenty-four (CDC, 2020).  In comparison to adults with HIV, youth have the lowest rates of viral suppression and less than half received care related to HIV (CDC, 2020).  Transmission for children and youth occurs from different sources including unprotected sexual contact, perinatal exposure, injectable drug use and transmission through hemophilia and blood transfusion treatments (CDC, 2020).  One hundred and forty nine deaths of young people were due to HIV in 2017 (CDC, 2020).
            There are still many challenges related to prevention and education for children and youth related to HIV.  Health-related behaviors such as underage drinking and substance use and low rates of condom use, lead to youth engaging in unprotected sex when under the influence of alcohol and drugs (CDC, 2020).  There are socioeconomic factors as well for children and youth with HIV, as teenagers infected are more likely than older adults to live in households with lower income levels and less access to healthcare (CDC, 2020).  Lower rates of pre-exposure prophylaxis and testing occur with children and youth due to cost, access and continued stigma and misperceptions regarding HIV (CDC, 2020).
            The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program was developed in 1990 and is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration and the HIV/AIDs Bureau (HRSA, 2019).  The program assists in providing comprehensive HIV medical care, prescriptions for low-income people, and provides support services, as well as, provides funding for grants to states and local community based public health centers to provide increased health outcomes and assist in reducing the risk of transmission of HIV (HRSA, 2019).  More than half of children diagnosed with HIV in the United States receive services through the Ryan White program annually (HRSA, 2019). 
            The passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 assisted parents of children with pre-existing conditions, including HIV, from being denied insurance coverage (CDC, 2020).  Another benefit to the Affordable Care Act is that insurance companies cannot have lifetime caps on insurance benefits which allows children diagnosed with HIV to receive insurance coverage for healthcare and prescriptions without worrying that the benefit will expire in their lifetime (CDC, 2020). With programs like the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the Affordable Care Act, great strides are being made in prevention and treatment of HIV for children and youth worldwide.  More work needs to be done however as new cases of HIV are diagnosed in children daily in the United States and globally (CDC, 2020).

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