amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

March 10 Is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

 

Women dolls

March 7, 2011— Although men make up the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S., the number of women and girls living with HIV continues to grow. On March 10, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, groups across the country will hold events aimed at encouraging women to get tested and seek treatment if necessary, and highlighting the gaps in access to care that many American women still face.

Overall, women account for 27 percent of new HIV infections each year and represent 25 percent of those living with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Women of color are disproportionately affected: the rate of new infections among African-American women is nearly 15 times higher than that among white women, and among Latinas it is four times higher than among white women. Young women—particularly those of color—are especially at risk.

Biologically, women are more susceptible than men to HIV infection through heterosexual sex. And women are often subject to social and economic factors—such as discrimination and poverty—that place them at greater risk. Research has also shown that HIV-positive women face gaps in access to treatment and care compared with men, often due to financial constraints or the responsibility of caring for children and other family members. 

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day offers an opportunity for community groups, government  agencies, and healthcare providers to raise awareness of women’s vulnerability to HIV and the challenges faced by women living with the virus. For more information and event listings, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/.

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