HIV Moves In on Homeless Youth

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Science  09 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5988, pp. 170-171
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5988.170

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St. Petersburg, Russia, and Odessa, Ukraine, both have a dark underbelly that has caught the attention of HIV/AIDS researchers: large numbers of youths living on the street who, as a group, are at as high a risk of becoming infected by the virus as any vulnerable population ever studied. Attempts to help the street youth are complicated when it comes to HIV prevention and care, however. Nongovernmental organizations that help street youths are not allowed to distribute clean needles to them. Clinicians for the NGOs say they have had many difficulties accessing anti-HIV drugs for the youths, too, because they don't have parents to give consent.