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CDC Observes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 8, 2013

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), a time when organizations and communities across the United States come together to offer support, encourage discussion, and teach women and girls about the prevention of HIV, the importance of getting tested, and how to live with and manage HIV infection. NWGHAAD is coordinated by the Office on Women's Health within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

HIV is a significant problem for women. Over a quarter of a million (an estimated 279,100) women and adolescent girls were living with HIV at the end of 2009. In 2011, women and adolescent girls ages 13 and older accounted for 21% of the estimated 49,273 diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States; heterosexual contact accounted for 86% of diagnosed infections. Further, 15% of women and adolescent girls living with HIV do not know they are infected, which means that they cannot get treated to maintain their health or have the knowledge to protect their partners.

There is cause for optimism, however; recent data indicate a 21% reduction in HIV incidence in black women from 2008 through 2010. We are hopeful that our intensified prevention efforts in recent years to increase awareness of HIV are helping to reduce new infections among women. Still, women and adolescent girls of color (especially blacks and Hispanics/Latinas) continue to be more affected than those of other races/ethnicities. For example:

  • Of the 10,257 new diagnoses of HIV infection among women and girls in the United States in 2011, 64% occurred in black women and 15% were in Hispanic/Latina women.
  • When population size is taken into account, the rate for diagnoses of HIV infection in 2011 among black women (40.0 per 100,000 population) were 20 times that of white women (2.0), and the rate for Hispanic/Latina women (7.9) was almost 4 times as high as the rate for white women.
  • Because of their small population sizes, women and girls who are Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and those reporting multiple races had fewer cases of HIV diagnosed. However, the rates for those groups (5.5, 2.3, 3.9, and 7.5, respectively) were higher than the rate for white women (2.0) in 2011, indicating a significant burden of HIV in these small populations.

CDC remains committed to ensuring that all women, especially populations that are affected most heavily, are given the tools necessary to prevent HIV. Campaigns for CDC's Act Against AIDS (AAA) initiative deliver messages about HIV infection for women; for example:

CDC also supports the national dissemination of effective HIV behavioral interventions for women to reduce their risk of getting HIV or to live healthily with it. To support HIV testing and linkage to care, CDC, through its new health department HIV prevention cooperative agreement enables health departments to increase HIV testing opportunities for populations disproportionately affected by HIV.

For more information about NWGHAAD, visit the CDC NWGHAAD feature.

To learn more about HIV infection in women and girls, see CDC: HIV among Women; CDC: HIV among Pregnant Women, Infants, Children; and CDC: HIV among Youth.

To find out more about how you can get involved with the fight against HIV, visit the Act Against AIDS website.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to HIV prevention.

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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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