This week marks the 13th annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The goal of this event is to raise awareness about the need for all women, especially pregnant women, to be tested and treated for HIV. The annual observance happens every year on March 10th. Several health organizations will use the day to create conversation about HIV concerns among women, offer testing for HIV to women and host several local events in cities across the nation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 there were nearly 40,000 people in the United States diagnosed with HIV. The CDC states that a total of 280,000 women living with HIV in America. There was a 16% drop in newly diagnosed cases of HIV among women in the same year. By spreading information through days like National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Day, the CDC hope to continue lowering that percentage annually.
Certain communities are affected by HIV at greater numbers than others. Women in the African-American community are disproportionately affected by HIV in the US. Women in this community account for over 60% of all new HIV infections found in women. While case rates have been decreasing over the past five years, there is still a vital need to inform women about their sexual health and have HIV testing performed.
The CDC recommends that all sexually active people between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once in their life for HIV/AIDS. It is also recommended that all women who may be pregnant test immediately for HIV in order to prevent spreading the virus to their unborn child. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to HIV, or you are simply looking for a regular screening, you should have HIV testing performed. This is the best way to know the current status of your sexual health.