March 10, 2010
This article was cross-posted from the AIDS.gov blog. Tina Tchen is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls. (Cross-posted from the White House Office of National AIDS Policy Blog.)
(Left to right) Moderator Rosie Perez, Dr. Howard Koh (HHS), Tina Tchen (White House Council on Women and Girls), Janet Cleveland (CDC) and Amna Osma (Michigan Department of Community Health) participate in a briefing on HIV/AIDS and women.
Today, we commemorate the 5th annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in a briefing held by the National Alliance for State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the HHS Office on Women's Health with important leaders in Congress. The event highlighted how the domestic epidemic is affecting women and how much we need to maintain our commitment to addressing this public health issue.
The statistics are sobering: Every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States. While women in the U.S. represented 8 percent of AIDS diagnoses in the 1980's, they now account for 27 percent. The HIV epidemic in the U.S. disproportionately impacts women of color: HIV/AIDS is one of the leading causes of death among black women and Latinas. Compared to white women, the AIDS case rate is 5 times higher for Latinas and 20 times higher for black women. Clearly, we must redouble our prevention efforts as well as improve care and treatment for women living with HIV.