Florida Public Health Review


HIV is a public health concern. Duval County schools Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance data on middle and high school students for 2013 reveal high-risk sexual activity; yet, one in five received no formal instructions about HIV/AIDS. Knowing one’s HIV status is pivotal for HIV prevention and treatment. HIV positive youth who seek treatment, and achieve viral suppression have optimal health outcomes and are less infectious. Northeast Florida joins the national initiative to reduce HIV infection. The City of Jacksonville, Ryan White Part-A Program, Florida Department of Health-Duval, and local HIV/AIDS organizations convened a Youth Summit. Conversations focused on how HIV prevention and treatment may integrate for seamless access and transition of youth into services. Six open- ended questions guided the summit. Three eight-member, moderated focus groups explored answers to two questions during one hour. From a healthcare access barriers perspective, structural and cognitive opportunities exist for health system integration. Almost twice as many solution strategies emerged for barriers to care and prevention-and-treatment attrition factors, compared to gaps in prevention, treatment, and health education. The Youth Summit is a first step in the journey toward a seamlessly integrated youth and adult HIV prevention, treatment, and health education system.