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Press Release
GMHC Leads Call to Action on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day During Women's History Month
as HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases Continue to Rise Among Women and Girls in New York City

March 3, 2009

New York, N.Y. -- GMHC plans a series of "call to action" events during the month of March (Women's History Month), in response to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is increasingly affecting women. Included in the events is the third installation of the social-marketing campaign, "HIV: We're Not Taking it Lying Down" which targets black and Hispanic women. The campaign will be promoted in partnership with GMHC's Women's Institute and Iris House. On Tuesday, March 10th at 1 pm (National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day), at City Hall in Manhattan, there will be a Call to Action entitled, "We're Not Dolls! Don't Play with Women's Lives!"

The CDC is reporting that women now constitute a third of new AIDS cases -- up from 1 in 10 at the start of the epidemic. One in four young women between the ages of 14 and 19 -- or 3.2 million teenage girls -- is infected with at least one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis. In New York City, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that one in three New Yorkers living with HIV is a woman. Approximately 90% of the women living with HIV are black and Hispanic. About 94% of teenage females who are newly infected with HIV are black and Hispanic.

For the March 10th rally at City Hall, leadership from AIDS-service organizations, elected officials, women and girls will gather to raise awareness about the issues of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. People will be encouraged to bring dolls which will wear signs representing the alarming statistics that impact women and girls in this epidemic.

For the "HIV: We're Not Taking It Lying Down" social-marketing campaign, there will be placements in phone kiosks throughout East and West Harlem and as ads in Harlem newspapers. Posters will be distributed in community-based organizations, clinics, businesses and other venues. The campaign has a multi-layered message which speaks to the empowerment of women while recognizing the realities of the lives of women of all ages, including trauma, stigma and injustice. Promoting safer sex that is consensual and in one's control subscribes to the idea that women don't have to "take it lying down." Testing for HIV on a regular basis is another way of taking control.

Many more events are scheduled, for a full calendar please click here.

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