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Today Is National Women And Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: What You Can Do

Today Is National Women And Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: What You Can Do

Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to encourage people to take action and raise awareness about the impact the epidemic is having on women and girls.

More than 290,000 women in the U.S. are living with HIV; in fact women now account for more than one in four new cases of HIV and AIDS in this country.

HIV/AIDS is a major health issue for African American women. A new study released last week shows the HIV rate among black women living in some U.S. cities is the same rate as that of some African countries.

As ABC News reported:

“This disease is alive and well in this country,” said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, principal investigator for the Atlanta area of the study and professor of medicine and infectious disease at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “But this epidemic is the face of the forgotten people.”

There are “hot spots” where the disease thrives in this country, Del Rio said, and most of those areas are some of the most impoverished parts of the United States.

“That’s bad, but it’s good because we know where to pour our intervention efforts,” Del Rio said.

The research included 2,099 women ages 18 to 44 who had never had a positive HIV test. Eighty-eight percent of the study participants were black, 12 percent Latina. At the time of enrollment, researchers found that 32 women were infected with HIV but were unaware of their status.

Within one year of joining the study, 0.24 percent of the women tested positive for the disease. That rate is five times higher than the CDC’s previous estimate of HIV rates in black American women.

The numbers are comparable to the HIV rates found in the general population in many sub-Saharan African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (0.28 percent) and Kenya (0.53 percent).

So what can be done? Awareness, empowerment, and testing are key. Organizations like the Red Pump Project — have taken a leading role in reaching out to African American women.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) launched a new campaign Thursday timed in conjunction with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day called  Take Charge. Take the Test.

“At current rates, nearly 1 in 30 African-American women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes,” Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said in a CDC news release.

“To help reduce this toll we are working to remind black women that they have the power to learn their HIV status, protect themselves from this disease, and take charge of their health,” he added.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is hosting events across the country. Click here to find an event in your area.

Related Reading:

Today Is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – Stars Speak Out

Gates Gives $750 Million To Fight AIDS, TB & Malaria (VIDEO)

What Young Women Need This World AIDS Day? Contraception, HIV Prevention,  And More…

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Photo credit: jacilluch via flickr

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68 comments

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6:34PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Noted

8:18PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Nadine D says it all -HUGE problem on many levels..
One big step in the third world would be to provide free condoms.... the bigger problem convincing males and females to use them has to happen at the community leader level.
Perhaps rock or music stars need to make condoms cool - condom concerts !? advocating abstinence is not a realistic solution.

8:29PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Talk to your teens about this (a lot). Often times they think it could never happen to them.

And teach them that when they do decide to have sex whether it's when they get married or before to insist that their partner go to a doctor to be tested. If a partner is unwilling to do that much then they're not someone one wants to be intimate with.

1:17PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Though be it far from me to pass judgement - I am just advocating ..

1:16PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Abstinence and restraint need to be practised by both genders, then AIDS will decrease. Speaking as a fifty-three-year old virgin. It hasn't done me any harm .. Dare I say less babies born out of wedlock and less abortions ..

10:15AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

It's not enough to keep to one partner to be free from disease - that partner must do the same.

8:44AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Thanks for the info.

6:34AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

I live in South Africa and the AIDS epidemic is pandemic. We have woman, men and children dying in tens of hundreds everyday, and the reason why AIDS, despite the millions of dollars spent on educating people in the danger of AIDS and all sexually tranmitted diseases, is so rampant, is because for example, men do not want to use condomns. In SA men are told by witch doctors that if they rape a Virgin they will be cured of AIDS, so you are not only having babies being born with AIDS but now we have a situation in SA of young girls, (anything from 6 months to 10 years) being brutally raped and if not reported the ARV's are not given and these innocent victims land up with this Disease.

The youth today need to be taught morals. I was shocked to learn the other day about young girls, as young as 11, who are sexually active, what for? They dont need the complications that sex brings at such an early age, and please dont tell me that a child of 11 or 12 can make up her own mind as to what she can or can not do with her body and life, they are kids for heavens sake lets start treating them as kids and not as adults.

Give our children morals and maybe we can save the next generation from the horrors of AIDS.

2:08AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Everybody should be aware V.D.safe sex...

8:20PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

We need to knock some sense in all the men who refuse to wear condoms, especially after seeing their mistress and going back to their wife, and shoot the SOBs who rape little girls, thinking that sex with a virgin cures AIDS...

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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