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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Group of women stretching

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness DayFind out how HIV affects women and girls in the US and learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

We are making progress in reducing HIV among women. HIV diagnoses fell 16% among all women from 2011 to 2015, including a 20% decrease among black/African American* women and a 14% decrease among Hispanic/Latina women.** Diagnoses remained stable among white women. These are encouraging signs, but we must continue our efforts to reduce HIV diagnoses even more among women.

In 2016, more than 7,000 women received an HIV diagnosis. Black women are still disproportionately affected by HIV, compared with women of other races/ethnicities. Nearly two-thirds of women who received an HIV diagnosis in 2016 were black.

Most women who get HIV get it from heterosexual sex. HIV diagnoses attributed to injection drug use (IDU) declined 20% among women overall from 2011 to 2015. But white women experienced a 21% increase in HIV diagnoses attributed to IDU during that time. More than a quarter of HIV diagnoses among white women in 2016 were attributed to IDU.

Today, there are more options than ever to prevent HIV. Join us in taking action to help all women have the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves and their partners.

Poster: I'm Doing It

Knowing your HIV status helps keep you and your partner healthy. Visit Doing It to learn more.

Poster: HIV Treatment Works

The HIV Treatment Works campaign shows how people living with HIV can get in care, stay in care, and live well.

What Can Women Do?

Talk about it. Learn the facts about HIV, and share this lifesaving information with your family, friends, and community. Let’s Stop HIV Together, part of Act Against AIDS, has many resources for raising awareness about HIV and includes many video testimonials from people living with HIV.

Start Doing It – getting tested for HIV. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy. CDC recommends that every American get tested for HIV at least once and those at high risk get tested at least once a year. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, get an HIV test as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, too many people live with HIV for years before they know it, which means they aren’t getting the benefits of early treatment. If people living with HIV take HIV medicine as prescribed, they can stay healthy for many years. HIV medicine also helps prevent transmission to others.

To find a testing site near you, visit Get Tested, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. You can also use a home testing kit, available in drugstores or online. More resources on testing are available from CDC’s Act Against AIDS campaign Doing It.

Protect yourself and your partner. Today, we have powerful tools to prevent HIV and help people living with HIV stay healthy. If you are living with HIV, start treatment as soon as possible after you get a diagnosis. The most important thing you can do is take HIV medicine as prescribed by your doctor.

HIV medicine lowers the amount of virus (viral load) in your body, and taking it every day can make your viral load undetectable. If you stay undetectable, you can stay healthy for many years, and you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex to an HIV-negative partner. To make sure you stay undetectable, take your medicine as prescribed, and see your provider regularly to get a viral load test. If you are pregnant, taking HIV medicines throughout your pregnancy can greatly lower the HIV risk for your baby.

If you are sexually active or use injection drugs, more tools than ever are available to prevent HIV:

  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex. Learn the right way to use a male condom or a female condom.
  • If you are HIV-negative but at high risk for HIV, take daily medicine to prevent HIV, called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  • Talk to your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you think you have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours and are not on PrEP.
  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Never share needles or other equipment to inject drugs (works).
  • Remember, abstinence (not having sex) and not sharing needles or works are the only 100% effective ways to prevent HIV.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself and your partners and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).

What Can CDC Partners Do?

Health departments, community-based organizations, and other partners can address stigma and discrimination, extend the reach of their HIV prevention, testing, and substance use services that focus on women, and link women who are HIV-positive to care. Learn how CDC can help you.

* Referred to as black in this feature.
** Hispanics/Latinas can be of any race.