With nearly 5000 youth receiving HIV diagnoses each year in the United States, efforts to ensure the rights of HIV-positive youth, as well as to prevent transmission and ensure their access to high-quality care and services, are a critical component of HIV advocacy. To reach those most affected and at risk, this advocacy must focus on the needs of the most vulnerable youth, such as minority youth—who are disproportionately affected by HIV—and LGBTQ youth, who too frequently are treated as invisible in clinical and school-based sexual health services and education. Exclusion and discrimination at the hands of misinformed peers and adults alike is a regular side-effect of HIV infection among youth. Youth have a right to medical care, information, privacy, and dignity, and to have a voice in the policies that affect them. Here you will find legal and advocacy tools on issues such as adolescent autonomy and the right to consent to HIV diagnosis and care; sexual health rights and policies as they affect youth; state policies on minors’ access to treatment for sexually transmitted disease (STD); reports on the funding and effectiveness of abstinence-only programming, and the needs and rights of youth in foster care.
Teen SENSE (Sexual health and Education Now in State Environments) is CHLP's health and HIV-prevention initiative for incarcerated and institutionalized youth. The goal of Teen SENSE is to translate the legal entitlement of these youth to LGBT-inclusive sexual and reproductive medical care, sexuality education, and staff training into real programs. Teen SENSE is the only initiative of its kind in the country: it establishes a powerful federal and state legal framework and international human rights foundation for the affirmative right to sexual health care. Our legal strategy is supported by on-the-ground alliances to see that meaningful, appropriate, non-judgmental, and LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health care and real HIV prevention become mandated services for youth in confinement. More
Minors' Access to STD Services: State Policies in Brief
The Guttmacher Institute authored this state-by-state reference sheet regarding a minor's authority to consent to STD services and HIV testing and treatment, and confidentiality protections afforded to the minor. According to the report, all fifty states and the District of Colombia allow, with some minimum age exceptions, minors to consent to testing and treatment for STDs. Click here to download.
THE FINE PRINT
Battle of Normandy: WIll Stigma Prevail?
by Margo Kaplan
CHLP Supervising Human Rights Attorney
Reliance on stigma over fact puts teenagers at greater risk by teaching them that avoiding HIV is not a matter of avoiding risky activities but rather avoiding "risky people." More