NEW YORK ( December 1, 2015 ) - GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, and AIDS United, dedicated to ending the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., today released Get the Facts: Improve School Climate to Increase LGBT Students' Well-Being and Reduce HIV/AIDS Risk, an educator resource on mitigating HIV risk among students.
According to GLSEN's most recent National School Climate Survey, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) youth commonly experience bullying and harassment in their schools, with 85 percent reporting being verbally harassed in the past year. Research by Advocates for Youth shows these experiences are linked to coping behaviors that increase risk for HIV infection. In 2010, young men ( ages 13-24 ) who have sex with men ( MSM ) accounted for 19 percent of all new HIV infections and 30 percent of new infections among all MSM, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Get the Facts outlines this increased risk for HIV infection among LGBT youth, especially young gay and bisexual men of color and young transgender women, and provides strategies for educators to mitigate this risk. These strategies include being a visible and supportive ally to LGBT students, ensuring access to a comprehensive sexuality education, supporting Gay-Straight Alliances, and implementing comprehensive and LGBT-inclusive policies.
"Far too many U.S. students are currently denied access to potentially life-saving information," said Dr. Joe Kosciw, GLSEN's Chief Research & Strategy Officer. "All students must receive medically-accurate information about HIV prevention at school, presented in a way that speaks to the reality of their lives and experience. LGBT students, many of whom may be at increased risk for HIV infection, rarely receive sex education and HIV prevention information that is LGBT inclusive and affirming. This new resource helps educators provide such information to help mitigate a life-and-death risk for these youth."
"AIDS United is hugely grateful to GLSEN for focusing the spotlight on the growing rates of HIV among young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and transgender women," said AIDS United President & CEO Michael Kaplan. "Get the Facts will help step up prevention efforts that reach these populations, which is critical to ending the AIDS epidemic once and for all."
The resource was released on World AIDS Day, held each year since 1988 on December 1 as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died.
GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Celebrating its 25th year, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org .
About AIDS United
Created by a merger between the National AIDS Fund and AIDS Action in late 2010, AIDS United's mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States, through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $91 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $115 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy. Learn more about AIDS United at www.aidsunited.org/ .