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What Women and Girls Should Know about HIV

What Women and Girls Should Know about HIV

What if you had HIV and didn’t know it? According to the Office on Women’s Health, of the 1.1 million HIV-positive people in the United States, one in four is a woman over the age of 13. It is estimated that 27,000 of them don’t know it, so they aren’t being treated and are potentially transmitting the virus to others.

Women and girls who are HIV-positive need treatment, the goal of which is to reduce the level of virus to a low or undetectable level. Unfortunately, less than half of all HIV-positive women and girls are virally suppressed, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), there are 31 FDA-approved antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV. While not a cure, these medications can significantly suppress the virus. Because of improved treatment, people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives.

5 Steps to Reach Viral Suppression (very low or undetectable levels of HIV in the blood)

1. Don’t guess at your HIV status — get tested.

2. If you test positive for HIV, seek treatment without delay.

3. Keep your doctor appointments.

4. Continue with HIV-related care.

5. Take your medications as prescribed.

If you are HIV-positive, stay on your medications and take steps to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

How HIV Spreads

1. When blood, semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucus, or breast milk from an infected person enters your body.

2. When infected body fluids enter an open wound.

3. Sharing of intravenous needles for drugs, needles for tattoos, and tools for piercings with an infected person.

4. HIV can be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. (Treatment during pregnancy can lower this risk, but won’t eliminate it entirely.)

HIV does not spread through casual contact.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around the world, women make up 50 percent of people living with HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, 60 percent of HIV-positive people are women, and the proportion of women with HIV has been on the rise for 10 years.

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It is important that women and girls get tested and know their HIV status so they can seek the treatment they need and make informed choices. Please help spread the word.

More on Women’s Health:
6 Signs You’re Having a Heart Attack
6 Things to Know About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (infographic)
The Daily Habit That Could Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk

Infographic courtesy of Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources
Post photo: SharonKennedy, photographer | iStock | Thinkstock

Read more: Conditions, Family, General Health, Health, HIV/AIDS, News & Issues, Teens, Women's Health

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

71 comments

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3:59AM PDT on Apr 19, 2014

medical scientists have discovered a new way to battle hiv/aids and mental disorder by using a man called DR.OGODOMENmy name is vivian mullan.i saw a comment on positive blogs and i will love to tell every body how my status changes to negative, and am now a living witness of it and i think its a shame on me if i don't share this lovely story with other people infected with this deadly virus. hiv has been ongoing in my family, i lost both parents to hiv. and it is so much pain i've not been able to get over.. as we all know medically there is no solution to it..and medication is very expensive..so someone introduced me to a herbal practitioner in africa.. i had a job there to execute so i took time to check out on him.i showed him all my tests and results.. i was already disorganized with hiv and it was already taking its towl on me.. i had spent thousands of dollars so i decided to try him out although i did'nt believe in it, i was just trying it out of frustration? and after 2 days, he told me to go for a new test. and you won't believe that 5 different doctors confirmed it that am negative..it was like a dream,,i never believe aids has cure..am now negative,, am a living witness..i don't know how to thank this man? i just want to help others in any way i can.. i have joined many forums and have posted this testimonies and alot of people has mail and called this man on phone and after 2 days they all confirmed negative.. bbc news took it live and every everybody saw it an

8:43AM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

Noted.

5:44AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

Thanks for sharing

3:22AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

Thanks for sharing

5:21PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

Very important information.

2:38AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

good information

3:43PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Thanks

12:59PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Noted

7:04AM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

5:52AM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

thanks

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