Is the iPad doomed?

— Tablet sales are “crashing,” says Best Buy’s CEO! IPad sales are sinking fast! Is this the beginning of the end for the tablet?

Easy, there, tiger. Tablets are still popular and sales are growing — 11% last quarter, to be precise, according to tech consultancy IDC.

Still, that’s a far cry from two years ago, when tablets were growing at a 60% clip. Meanwhile, the iPad has been in the doldrums, posting a 9% sales decline last quarter, which was preceded by a 16% slump the quarter before that.

So what’s going wrong? There are three big obstacles facing the market that are impacting demand for tablets: Smartphones are getting bigger, tablets last a while and businesses aren’t buying them.

Smartphones are getting bigger. Like, seriously huge. Samsung’s popular Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch screen. Its Galaxy Note smartphone has a 5.5-inch screen, and Apple is expected to release an iPhone 6 of the same size this fall. Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet is just 1.5 inches bigger.

Who needs a tablet when you’re already carrying one around in your pocket?

Tablets last a while. Unlike smartphones, there’s not much incentive to buy a new tablet every two years.

Most people buy unsubsidized, Wi-Fi-only tablets without a contract from their wireless carrier. And there really isn’t that much difference between Apple’s new iPad Air and the original iPad that came out four years ago.

“Once you have a tablet of a certain generation, it’s not clear that you have to move on to the next generation,” Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly told Re/Code.

Businesses aren’t buying tablets. PCs are everywhere in corporations, but tablets are harder to come by. Corporate IT departments are notoriously slow at adopting new technologies, and security remains a concern.

But that also means there’s a huge growth opportunity.

Apple and IBM announced a partnership earlier this month aimed at solving the corporate tablet problem. Apple will deliver iPads to IBM, which will load them with industry-specific apps for businesses in the banking, health care, insurance, retail, travel and transportation sectors.

That’s why analysts think tablets could get a second wind later this year.

“We believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC’s research director for tablets. “We will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market.”

So the tablet’s not dead. It’s just resting.

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Inmates’ grasses, wildflowers bloom in vacant Baltimore lots

— Maryland inmates are sprucing up and testing special wildflowers and grasses in eight vacant West Baltimore sites as part of a continuing beautification project with the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

The inmates cultivated the flower and grass seeds at the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore, where they have toiled for months in two greenhouses, including one they built themselves, to determine if the vegetation will grow in urban soil. Participation in the project is part of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) Public Safety Works (PSW) program, a restorative justice effort, which allows inmates to give back to the communities they have harmed.

“The pride that this project has instilled in the inmates will aid them tremendously in their success upon re-entry into society,” said Felicia Hinton, director of corrections for the DPSCS Central Region.

DPSCS has been a national leader in inmate environmental projects ranging from restoring Chesapeake Bay grasses to planting one million trees throughout the state.

The goal of this project is to transform unused vacant lots into low-maintenance, attractive green spaces and bring natural beauty into the neighborhood while positively impacting the environment, said Christopher Swan, a UMBC associate professor of geography and environmental science who is leading the project.

“A study of this size could not be done without the massive amounts of human resources of the inmates,” Swan said. “They’ve helped project this forward.”

Inmates are glad to give back to the community, said Nathan Boone, an inmate who worked on the project.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Boone said. “You get to learn a trade that you can take out to the street and you can beautify your own neighborhood.”

HBCU round up: Coppin State men’s basketball

— Coppin State’s Men’s Basketball Program has quietly putting together a basketball team that will be something to talk about this fall in Baltimore, Maryland. The new head coach, Michael Grant, is putting together a staff that is second none.

17-year coaching veteran Elwyn McRoy has been added as one of the assistant coaches for the Eagles.

At the NCAA Division I level, McRoy has been an assistant coach at Iowa State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Southern University and Texas-Pan American where he coached during the 2013-14 season. McRoy has received national recognition for his work, as CollegeInsider.com named him the No. 23 mid-major assistant coach in 2009, and Basketball Times Magazine selected him as one of the top 10 junior college recruiters in the country in 2008. He was also profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2013. In addition at UTPA, McRoy was voted as the No. 2 recruiting coach in the Western Athletic Conference by Next Up Recruits.

Doug Lewis will join Coppin State as an assistant coach; he comes to Baltimore from the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin where he worked during the 2013-14 season as the men’s basketball Director of Player and Community Development.Lewis was a head coach at Division II institutions Central State (Ohio) and Northern Michigan where he compiled a 10-year overall coaching mark of 148-116.

Lewis experienced his greatest success as a head coach at Central State, where led his team to three 20-win seasons. The Maurauders won 22 games and participated in the NCAA Division II tournament in 2009-10. His 2008-09 and 2007-08 squads won Independent Athletic Association titles, posting marks of 19-8 and 21-4, respectively.In 2008 and 2009, Lewis was named the Independent Athletic Association Coach of the Year. In 2006-07, Central went 22-5 and was the runner-up in the NCAA Division II National Independent Tournament.

HBCU Round up as compiled by Phinesse Demps

Pull up those saggy pants

— A Florida town has banned people — let’s face it, young people — from wearing saggy pants.

A councilwoman for Ocala pushed for passage of the law, but the town’s Mayor Kent Guinn may ultimately veto the fashion police.

If the law goes into effect, it’s unclear what measuring tools the Ocala Police Department would use to determine whether citizens’ pants are within the 2-inch legal limit of a theoretical waistline. It’s even more unclear how they will determine where the waistline actually lies on an individual.

More likely than not, the Ocala PD will use the time-honored legal standard of “I know it when I see it” to eyeball the location of waistlines relative to pants lines. The not-too-subtle message is: Pull up your pants, because “2 inches” really just means “too annoying.”

Why do I suggest it singles out young people? I’m not ascribing any evil motive to law enforcement. Rather, as a society, we won’t expect the police to ticket a plumber crouched over at work, accidentally revealing his tighty-whiteys. We’ll expect them to target teens who show underwear as a fashion statement.

So, the underlying legal question arises: Can the government even outlaw saggy pants in the first place?

It’s true that the First Amendment prohibits the government from interfering with our speech — which is the right to receive and disseminate ideas and information.

It’s also true that speech need not be spoken or written. The First Amendment also protects “expressive conduct.” The problem is that expressive conduct is hard to identify.

Clothing can certainly be expressive. In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned one man’s conviction for wearing a jacket that said “Fk the Draft” — but that’s not really expressive conduct, because the written words constituted speech. Expressive conduct conveys an idea without words. Wearing a black armband to school to protest a war is an example of expressive conduct, and the Supreme Court has said doing so is protected speech. .

Indeed, even offensive clothing, like Nazi uniforms, has been deemed expressive conduct, and the reviled Klansman robe has garnered First Amendment protections.

Clothing can be communicative, but courts require an identifiable, specific message to apply First Amendment protection. Saggy pants proponents would have to show that (1) displaying your underwear conveys an identifiable message (2) that the rest of us on the street can understand as an identifiable message.

Well, doesn’t having one’s pants on the ground convey ideas about comfort, personal style, and individuality? Certainly, but those are not specific enough “messages” for the courts. When you think about it, all clothing conveys those ideas. In the ’80s, many of us were conveying strong ideas about acid wash jeans and shoulder pads, and in the ’90s, our collective message was apparently flannel and work boots. But that’s just style — or lack thereof — and it’s not enough of a message to be protected speech.

During the 2013 trial of George Zimmerman, many took to wearing hooded sweatshirts to show support for Trayvon Martin, who was killed by Zimmerman while wearing a hoodie.

Wearing hoodies satisfies the first prong of having a particularized message, but probably fails the second. Hoodies are so popular that a court might conclude the message of solidarity is indistinguishable on the street from, say, someone wearing a hoodie to the gym. In that sense, hoodies would fail the second test, because they are not understood as speech by others.

The results feel confusing: A court would likely conclude that the clothing of a Klansman or a neo-Nazi conveys a particularized message — an unpopular, divisive, angry message. That would entitle it to constitutional protection. But saggy pants? The message is too amorphous, so it cannot be protected speech. And if it’s not protected speech, the First Amendment will not prevent towns from outlawing those droopy drawers.

Few of us like looking at people’s skivvies when their jeans hang off them on the subway, but how offensive is it, really? Our culture’s mores about clothing are fundamentally illogical. We attempt to outlaw this display of the top half of someone’s boxers, but have no laws for that old guy at the pool — usually the same guy glistening with suntan oil — who prances around in nothing but a Speedo all summer. What’s with that guy, anyway?

The point is that culturally, we accept nearly complete nudity in one context, but try to regulate mostly clothed conduct in another. There really is no logic to our ideas about clothing. That helps to explain horrible fashion choices from decade to decade, but does little to logically justify clothing regulations. As much as we feel free to express ourselves with apparel, we likely have less freedom of expression than we imagined.

And at least in one town in Florida, no matter how trendy your gear may be, it looks like it’s time to pull up the pants.

Read CNNOpinion’s new Flipboard magazine.

Danny Cevallos is a CNN legal analyst, criminal defense attorney and partner at Cevallos & Wong, practicing in Pennsylvania and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Follow him on Twitter: @CevallosLaw. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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Enjoy Jazz and wine in Atlantic City this summer

For the past couple of years, Atlantic City has been on a campaign to get more families to vacation there. While many people think Atlantic City is all about the casinos and bingo, there is certainly more to do than ever before.

The weekly Thursday “Jazz On The Beach” free concert series is a hidden gem. One of the best parts is the local that performs before the headlining act. The concert series started July 3 and runs until August 28, 2014. Put July 31 concert on your calendar, because the Chicken Bone Youth Jazz Ensemble will be performing!

Some of this year headliners for the series will include: Kameelah Samar Quartet, Mimi Jones, Tia Fuller, Helen Sung, Michael Pedicin, Wilson Chembo, Sean Jones, and Ralph Peterson. Indie Soul has been informed that Baltimore’s very own John Lamkin II may grace the stage. This is all being brought to you by the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation Inc. and the Atlantic City Free Public Library. For more information: www.chickenbonebeach.org or call 609-441-9064.

The Third Annual CAL-ITAL Winefest takes place August 15th-16. It’s your chance to sample the best wines from California and Italy. Mingle with winery ambassadors, winemakers and wine enthusiasts for an evening under the stars on the event lawn on August 15. Enjoy wines from over 25 of the most prolific Italian and California wineries complemented by award winning cuisine from Chef Bobby Hettmannsperger. On Saturday the 16th sample over 120 wines from California & Italy’s most prestigious producers. Enjoy an elegant evening of live jazz and culinary delights while sampling some of the best wines you ever tasted.For more details visit www.goldennugget.com

‘The Teachers’ Lounge’ returns for a special back-to-school performance

Back by Popular Demand, Ursula V. Battle’s The Teachers’ Lounge returns August 30 & 31, 2014 for a special “Back To School” engagement. Headlining the performance will be actress/singer D’Atra Hicks who has performed in several Tyler Perry plays including Madea’s Family Reunion, and What’s Done in the Dark.

The Teachers’ Lounge stageplay is being directed by Dr. Gregory William Branch of Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins, and is written by Baltimore Times writer Ursula V. Battle.

(Courtesy Photo)

The Teachers’ Lounge stageplay is being directed by Dr. Gregory William Branch of Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins, and is written by Baltimore Times writer Ursula V. Battle.

The Teachers’ Lounge returns to the stage of the Randallstown Community Center located at 3505 Resource Drive in Randallstown, MD. The return of the production follows a weekend run this past spring at the Randallstown Community Center and a two-weekend fall run at the Downtown Cultural Art Center.

The performances drew rave reviews from audiences. Many traveled from Delaware, Philadelphia, South Carolina, and other areas to attend the popular production.

The Teachers’ Lounge was written and is being produced by playwright, Baltimore Times writer, and Baltimore native Ursula V. Battle. The play is being directed by Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch of Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins.

A drama with comedic elements, The Teachers’ Lounge centers around the lives of six teachers at the imaginary “New Peaceful Pines Elementary/Middle School”. The school’s teachers find refuge in The Teachers’ Lounge, that one special place of temporary escape where they gather during their long-awaited lunch break to feast on juicy gossip, riveting secrets, insatiable desires, and even secret romance.

While the play is set within a school, the production’s universal themes and uplifting spiritual messages, makes it a must see for all audiences.

Hicks will portray “Miss Brooks,” the school’s cleaning lady. The talented actress and singer began singing at the age of four. In 1989, she signed with Capital Records and released her self-titled debut album.

Her first single, Sweet Talk. went to Number 4 on the Billboard Charts. Hicks’ career also includes sell-out tours in Japan for her album, and a starring role in the stage play Mama I Want to Sing. Her credits also include Diary of a Mad Black Woman and The Maintenance Man. She is also featured on Bishop T.D. Jakes’ The Storm is Over Now music project.

In addition to Hicks, The Teachers’ Lounge features a powerful cadre of some of Baltimore’s most talented performers, including Dravon James of HBO’s The Wire. The production is an updated return of the highly successful The Teachers’ Lounge, which originally debuted in 2002 at Coppin State University.

General Admission tickets purchased before August 16 are $20, and $25 after August 16. VIP tickets are $50 (VIP includes Preferred Seating, Badge, Souvenir Bag & Reception). Performance dates and times are: Saturday, August 30, 2014 (2:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.) and Sunday, August 31, 2014 (3:00 p.m.). Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available for sale at the door. For additional information or to purchase tickets, call (443) 531-4787 or visit www.battlestageplays.com

Shopping tips for college-bound students

— Preparing for college life is a must, whether you are planning to live on or off campus. But it can be overwhelming without a game plan.

To make this exciting experience as smooth as possible, the college experts at Bed Bath & Beyond are offering helpful shopping tips for students and parents. 

• Use a checklist:  Stay organized and on budget with a checklist. Some retailers offer online and in-store lists breaking down the essential gear needed for on and off-campus living.

• Know your school rules:  To avoid any unwelcome surprises on move-in day, learn your school-specific rules before shopping. From microwaves to coffeemakers, know what you can and can’t bring to your school. Look up your school rules at www.bedbathandbeyond.com/shopforcollege.

• Create a college registry:  A registry makes a great resource for family and friends choosing graduation or college gifts. Students can also use their registry to share what they’re bringing to school with roommates.

• Meet the roomie: Once students receive their housing assignment, they should connect with their future roommate to finalize room decisions and avoid duplication.

• Make packing easy: Take advantage of resources that make transporting your items to college easier. For example, Bath & Beyond has a free in-store service, Pack & Hold, which allows students to select dorm room essentials at a store near home and have everything ready to pick up for purchase at a store near campus.

• Bedding: The bed is pretty much the center of dorm room life, so make it comfortable and stylish. School-provided mattresses are often thin, so consider adding a memory foam topper or fiber bed for extra support. Remember that most dorms require twin extra-long sheets (TXL), and don’t forget to protect the mattress against bed bugs and allergens with a mattress protector. Coordinate your bed and room on budget with a value Campus Collection. For ideas, visit www.bedbathandbeyond.com.

• Organize: Maximizing space is a must. Create more room with storage and organizational items under the bed, over the door and in the closet.  For example, Real Simple Slimline Flocked Hangers allow students to hang more clothing per unit of space. Look for multi-functional items, such as bed risers that have an AC outlet and USB charger.

• Make it homey: Add an area rug and throw blankets for extra warmth, or add accents like a cool side table and colorful throw pillows. Welcome friends and study buddies with functional and stylish seating like the Bunjo Bungee Chair or Sound Lounge Speaker Ottoman. Decorate the walls with dry erase message boards, artwork and photo displays.

• Study smart: Make sure your work space is highly functional. You’ll need plenty of storage for school supplies, lighting for late night cramming and a surge protector to plug-in all your devices.

Creating a home away from home can be a challenge. Use tools and resources specifically designed for college-bound students to stay organized and on budget.


James Brown biopic in theaters nationwide, August 1

Producers of a new film based on the incredible life story of James Brown give audiences a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of the legendary “Godfather of Soul.”

The film, “Get on Up,” stars Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd.

Director Tate Taylor says the 96-minute film from Imagine Entertainment helps to reaffirm why many considered Brown, “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”

The singer always committed to hitting the right notes on and off stage and more than a few stars followed Brown’s lead, according to Taylor.

“Look at those he influenced,” said the late singer’s daughter, Deanna Brown Thomas. “The Maceo Parkers, Fred Wesleys, George Clintons. I believe it’s important to remember the hard work dad put in and the fact that he’s so revered for his work is so remarkable.”

When Michael Jackson presented Brown with a lifetime achievement honor at the 2003 BET Awards, the King of Pop acknowledged that much of his creativity stemmed from watching the Godfather of Soul.

“I got it from you, you, you!” said Jackson, who died after suffering cardiac arrest in 2009.

Brown died in 2006 at the age of 73, but left an indelible impression on the music industry.

From the 1950s onward, he mesmerized audiences with such hits as, “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Get Up, Get On Up,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” and, “Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud).”

Boseman, who won acclaim in 2013 for his portrayal of the late baseball Hall of Fame star, Jackie Robinson, says portraying the singer proved to be a dream come true.

With producers Mick Jagger and Brian Grazer, Taylor and Boseman met with Brown Thomas and other members of the late entertainer’s family.

“My father’s story is an American story, not just an African-American one,” Brown Thomas said. “He had a dream like any other young child and he went through some tough times because he was poor. But, it is important for us to keep his legacy and share the richness of his life.”

The movie opens with Brown at six years old, abandoned by his mother and left to live with his Aunt Honey, who runs a brothel. “There is a lot of pain in this movie, but as James says, take what’s bad and flip it on its head and make it work for you,” Taylor said.

Born in South Carolina on May 3, 1933, Brown left school after seventh grade to help support the family.

In 1955, he joined, “The Gospel Starlighters,” a group that eventually renamed itself, “The Famous Flames.” The group moved to Macon, Georgia, where they eventually opened for such legends as B.B. King and Ray Charles.

Ultimately, the group would go on to record the hit song, “Please, Please, Please,” which became Brown’s first big single. A bevy of hits would follow, including songs like, “Try Me,” “Night Train,” “Papa’s Gotta Brand New Bag,” and many others that cemented Brown as the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”

His catalogue of hits also included, “The Big Payback,” “Sex Machine”

and “Living in America.”

Jackson, the late Jimi Hendrix and Prince all counted Brown as a primary influence on their stellar careers.

Brown’s music has been sampled more than any other artist and his estate remains bombarded with requests from hip-hop and other singers to use his songs.

“I believe the movie is going to be one of those films to impact future generations because Dad touched so many people,” Brown Thomas said. “His music has been a beacon to people all over the world.”

Healthy fuel for back to school: Tasty, tote-able snack ideas

— During back-to-school season, many families will find time is at a premium. With routines changing from summer’s slower pace to tighter schedules jam-packed with work, school and extracurricular commitments, it can be hard to keep kids fueled for the day and eating healthfully. 

With limited time to eat between the dismissal bell and soccer games, art class and homework, speed sometimes supersedes nutrition. Fortunately you don’t have to make that kind of compromise. There are plenty of quick, convenient and healthy foods to keep everyone on schedule and your kids properly fed.

Make a Mini-wich

Sandwiches are a classic, portable meal, but when your kids just need a snack, try a “mini-wich.”

Making one is as simple as quartering a PB&J or grilled cheese sandwich into a bite-sized, pop-able snack. Add in a few baby carrots or a handful of raisins on the side and you’re all set.

It’s a tiny, attractive combo that will come in very handy when your son or daughter needs an extra boost after getting off the bus or energy for an early start on homework.

On-the-Go Snacks

There are lots of options for healthy snacks on-the-go — from all-in-one bars, to trail mix, to fruit squeezers.  Sometimes, all it takes is a squeeze and a slurp to enjoy a snack that’s nutritious and delicious.

For a no-spoon, no-mess solution, give GoGo squeeZ  squeezable fruit pouches a try. They are 100 percent natural and come in a variety of flavors, including apple cinnamon, apple strawberry and apple peach. These convenient, tasty pouches are even great for families with dietary restrictions, since they are gluten-free, Kosher certified, GMO-free and made without high fructose corn syrup.

These squeezable snacks are perfect for when life is moving fast, and they’re shelf-stable so you can keep a few in the car to have on hand even if you forgot to plan ahead. At only 60 calories, it’s a snack you can feel good about sharing with kids, who find fun pouches irresistible. You can find more information at www.gogosqueez.com.

Leftovers

One man’s dinner is some kid’s snack. While that’s not exactly how the saying goes, “waste not, want not” should ring a bell…

Try dicing up last night’s chicken and broccoli and mixing them in a small Tupperware container. Throw in a side of ranch dressing and a colorful safety fork and voila: your kids have an instant, bite-sized snack ready for spearing.

When school starts back up, it’s hard to carve out time for healthy food preparation, but when the going gets hectic, imaginative parent can fall back on these snacks.

Whether it’s grabbing a pouch of GoGo squeeZ or cutting a quick, delicious mini-wich, your kids will thank you for something small, tasty and playful — and you’ll gain confidence that a more hurried time doesn’t mean a less healthy time.

This won’t be the AIDS-free generation

— He was just 18 years old when he got the news. It was the summer before his senior year in high school.

“I had a fever of 103,” Bryan Seth Johnson said. “My body was hurting; I wasn’t eating, couldn’t hold down food. I just felt weak all the time.”

He went to the hospital, told them he was having difficulty swallowing and was treated for tonsillitis. But he didn’t have tonsillitis.

Johnson had the human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV.

Metro TeenAIDS offers free HIV testing through its RealTalkDC program.

(Courtesy Metro TeenAIDS)

Metro TeenAIDS offers free HIV testing through its RealTalkDC program.

“I was basically in shock, because the guy I got HIV from works in the HIV-prevention field,” Johnson recalled. “He deleted me from Facebook and basically cut all communication out.”

At the time, Johnson was getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases every three months at SMYAL, an organization dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and questioning youth in Washington. Johnson says he generally practiced safe sex, but once, when he was under the influence, he had unprotected sex.

Still, “I was in denial at the time. I thought it might be a false test.”

So he got retested. He remembers the date: September 16. The result was the same.

“The bus ride home was so quiet. Even though there was a whole bunch of noise around me, I blocked everything out.”

At home, he could not tell his mother; her baby brother had died of AIDS complications two years before Johnson was born.

One in a million

At the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, this week, young people from over 50 countries gathered to make sure the issues of their generation were heard.

The numbers are quite startling.

Globally, 5 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are living with HIV. They represent 41% of all new infections. About 2,500 young people become infected every day, according to Advocates for Youth, an organization that works here and in developing countries.

In the United States, 26% of all new HIV infections are among young people ages 13 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most new infections are among young gay and bisexual males.

Yet only one in five high school students who has had sex has been tested for HIV, according to a new CDC report (PDF) on sexual risk behaviors. Although the majority of sexually active teens report using condoms, those numbers are decreasing, said Dr. Stephanie Zaza, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

“Teens are unaware of their risk of HIV and how to protect themselves,” Zaza said. “As parents and health professionals, and as educators, we need to take responsibility to help them learn about HIV.”

‘We know what works’

A staggering 60% of youths with HIV in the United States don’t know that they are infected, which leads us to an even more troubling statistic: In 2011, about 3,000 young people in this country were diagnosed with AIDS, an increase of 29% since 2008.

“That makes me sick to my stomach,” said Adam Tanner, executive director of Metro TeenAIDS in Washington. “I’m horrified. I think we’re in a moment now where there is more complacency around HIV.”

Metro TeenAIDS is a community health organization working with young people to end HIV/AIDS. It’s where Johnson went to be retested, and after his diagnosis, he began volunteering with the group. Tanner says two-thirds of Metro TeenAIDS’ clients who come in for testing have had unprotected sex in the past year.

Two years ago, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 64% of 15- to 24-year-olds in the United States don’t get tested because they think they’re not at risk. More than 40% said they didn’t get tested because their doctors never suggested it.

“We know what works to end the epidemic,” Tanner said. “We have better medications than we’ve ever had before. We need to arm young people with basic education about how HIV is transmitted. … All the data suggest that by fourth grade, we should be starting those conversations about sex.”

The United States is one of 10 countries that make up 61% of HIV cases, says Cornelius Baker, acting director of the HIV/AIDS division at the nonprofit group FHI 360.

“We have the tools to protect our young people through education, quality health care and family and community support,” Baker said. “If we continue to fail them, our hopes of an AIDS-free generation will be lost.”

Safe sex or no sex

Brennan Stewart, 22, understands the importance of educating young people. He was diagnosed with HIV at age 16. Stewart had just had a routine physical and blood work done. His mother delivered the news.

“My first thought was death. I was going to die,” Stewart recalled. “I felt like, oh, my God, I’m just this dirty person. … I’ve contracted something that’s going to mess up my life.”

He’s not sure how he got it. He says he practiced safe sex but not all the time. He never got sick, never had any symptoms of the disease.

A few months after the diagnosis, he started taking medication. Today, he takes one pill a day and has no side effects. He says his viral load is undetectable.

Metro TeenAIDS has kept him on track, making sure he does what he needs to do to stay healthy. He wants other teens to know what he learned the “extremely” hard way.

“If you think it can’t happen to you, it can,” he said emphatically. “You have to get tested, because if you don’t, you can put your life in danger, as well as somebody else’s life.”

Oh, “and wrap it up,” he said. “Either safe sex or no sex.”

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