Reporting AIDS – Youth & AIDS: Hope’s Voice

AIDS increasingly affects the young. Half of all people infected by HIV today will be under 25. Todd Murray, 26 and HIV positive, wanted to put a human face and voice to these tragic figures, so he founded Hope’s Voice. Young speakers from Hope’s Voice travel to high schools and colleges sharing their experience of contracting HIV so that others don’t have to.

“If someone had come to my high school from Hope’s Voice, I would have been much safer,” said Kevin, 23. Kevin found out he was HIV positive at 22, the day after he told his parents he was gay. “We had Abstinence Only programs in school and I didn’t know anything about condoms.” Kevin recently became a speaker for Hope’s Voice and thinks sharing his story is a better way of educating young people about HIV than hearing it from a doctor.

Abstinence Only programs are the latest effort by the federal government to stop AIDS among youth. These programs forego teaching condom skills and instead ask young people to abstain from sexual relations before marriage. Abstinence Only programs receive the bulk of federal HIV prevention funding for young people, though they have been repeatedly proven not to be effective.

Critics complain that Abstinence Only programs leave young adults more vulnerable to the diseases they are intended to prevent. When young adults inevitably have sex(over 80% of all teenagers that take a pledge of abstinence fail to maintain it), they don’t know how to use condoms. Abstinence Only programs were initiative by the Bush Administration and received strong support from conservative groups.

5 thoughts on “Reporting AIDS – Youth & AIDS: Hope’s Voice

  1. can someone tell me the last time religion inserted itself into a health dialogue and was a positive instrument in solving a health crisis?

    it is insane that the religious right preaches abstinence only programs and lobbies to cut funding to anyone who mentions abstinance AND safe sex as a solution.

    i believe the data shows that safe sex education plays a role in lowering transmission.

    how can people care more about abstinance (which god preaches supposedly) than life (which i think he also values last i heard)? i.e., people in places like africa who do not have access to magic johnson type drugs die when they get AIDS.

  2. Thank you for the Youth & AIDS: Hope’s Voice. The video was very well done- lots of activity, lots of life, lots of the everyday world of American youth.
    The participants were wonderful- well selected for such an informative video.
    At the ASO where I work we are begining to see more and more youth walking through the front door with HIV. The story of the virus needs to be told and it needs to be told by youth like those from Hope’s Voice.

  3. John : VERY GOOD; Ken and I found the program very well done and I could only echo Joe Pais’s comments . But we especially loved seeing you on camera and seeing you so poised AND well spoken . Thank you so much for sharing . The web site is awesome and good luck .

  4. John, you pointed out that

    “Half of all people infected by HIV today will be under 25″.

    That is because these are the people targeted most to get tested. Not because they are ill or even getting ill, as your video clearly presents, but because the tests themselves are, and always have been highly flawed. They are antibody tests, John. They do not detect HIV. They detect proteins believed to be associated with HIV antibodies. But, and you may not be awae of it, there are more than 60 factors listed in science journals as proven to cause false positives. Yet no-one who takes an HIV test is ever told this.

    One of the other highly targeted groups today, is the black community.

    Gays, on the other hand, are beginning to wake up and realise that something is just not right with the whole HIV/AIDS thing.

    Notice that now that poppers sniffing is no longer nearly as common in the gay community, gays are also rarely coming down with Kaposis Sarcoma or PCP pneumonia as they did when amyl nitrate poppers sniffing was the rage of the gay community in the 80s and 90s.

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