National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) is an annual, nationwide observance that sheds light on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Every year on March 10, and throughout the month of March, federal, national, and community organizations come together to offer support and hope, reduce stigma, share information, and empower women and girls to learn the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment. This year marks the 10th observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Today, about one in four people living with HIV in the United States are women 13 or older. Only about half of women living with HIV are getting care, and only four in 10 of them have the virus under control. Women face unique HIV risks and challenges that can prevent them from getting needed care and treatment. Addressing these issues remains critical to achieving an HIV/AIDS-free generation.

While there are many milestones in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, it is important to recognize that the disease affects women all across the country. Some women are living with HIV while working and taking care of families. Other women are caregivers to family members or friends with HIV/AIDS. During National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we invite everyone to help reduce stigma.

What every woman needs to know about HIV/AIDS

About one in four people living with HIV are women, and about  80% of whom are of childbearing age (15 to 44) — are HIV-positive. This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, you should know these facts:

1

HIV/AIDS can happen to any race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. Protect yourself by using a condom correctly every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex and avoiding contact with your partner’s fluids and blood.

2

The only way to know for sure that you have or don’t have HIV is to get tested. Talk to your partner about his or her sexual past and get tested together.

3

Under the Affordable Care Act, you may be able to get tested for HIV and counseling at no cost to you. To learn more, visit HealthCare.gov.

4

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia raise your risk of getting HIV. If you think you have an STI, see a doctor.

5

Even when they know their status, about 1 in 4 women postpone medical care because of barriers such as family, depression, or threat of partner violence. Seek medical care and call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

6

If you are pregnant and HIV-positive, take HIV medicine. If you take medicine, the risk of passing HIV to your baby is less than 1%.

7

Never share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment. Sharing these with an infected person can put you at greater risk of infection.

8

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to be diagnosed with HIV at a later stage in the disease. If you are a doctor, health care worker, or family member, talk to middle-aged and older people about sex, drug use, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

9

A woman with HIV/AIDS needs support, family, friends, and fun. Help fight stigma by making sure people know you can’t get HIV from things like the air, toilet seats, or hugs.

10

Today, living with HIV/AIDS means living longer and with a better quality of life than ever before. Live a longer, healthier life by taking your medicine, seeing your doctor regularly, and eating healthy.

For more information, visit our Women and HIV/AIDS section.

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