THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
December 1, 1997
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Integration of HIV Prevention in Federal Programs
Adolescence marks a major rite of passage, a transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a period of significant physical, social, and intellectual growth and change. It is also a period of experimentation and risk-taking. The choices that young people make during these years profoundly affect their chances of becoming healthy, responsible, and productive adults.
Unfortunately, too many young people lack the support and self-esteem needed to make sound decisions, and end up putting their lives and their futures at risk. Today, it is estimated that one-quarter of all new HIV infections in the United States occur in young people between the ages of 13 and 21. This means that two Americans under the age of 21 become infected with HIV every hour of every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in some communities as many as one in thirty 18- and 19-year olds may be HIV-positive.
For young people who become infected, there are promising new treatments available to help them live longer and more productive lives. Yet these treatments only forestall the progression of the disease; they do not constitute a cure. In fact, AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death among young people 15-24 years old (and the leading cause of death among African Americans of the same age group). The loss of so many young Americans to this terrible epidemic is a threat to this Nation and should serve as a call to action.
My Administration is firmly committed to doing everything within its power to end the AIDS epidemic. That includes finding a cure for those already infected as well as a vaccine to keep others from developing the disease. This commitment also includes reaching out in new ways to enable young people to protect themselves from acquiring or spreading HIV infection.
Accordingly, I hereby direct:
That each Federal agency, within 90 days, working with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) identify all programs under its control that serve young people ages 13-21 and that offer a significant opportunity for preventing HIV infection; and
That each Federal agency, in collaboration with the HHS and ONAP, develop within 180 days a specific plan through which said programs could increase access to HIV prevention and education information, as well as to supportive services and care for those already infected.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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