Dear Colleague: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD)

Dear Colleagues: Information from CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

March 7, 2024

Dear Colleague,

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), a day to highlight the impact of HIV on women and girls and show our support for those living with HIV. As we commemorate NWGHAAD this year, I am honored to recently be appointed the first woman director of the Division of HIV Prevention (DHP). I recognize the need to address systemic factors and long-standing inequities that continue to contribute to persistent health disparities in HIV among women. I am committed to DHP leading equitable research, programs, and policies to end the HIV epidemic among women.

The annual number of estimated new HIV infections among women in the US from 2017 to 2021 is moving in the right direction (from 6,800 in 2017 to 6,200 in 2021). More work remains, however, to address significant disparities, specifically the disproportionate impact of HIV on Black or African American women (hereafter referred to as Black women) and transgender women. Of the 6,200 estimated new HIV infections among women in 2021, Black women accounted for 52% (3,200). Transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV, and significant racial disparities persist. Among transgender women interviewed and tested in seven US cities in 2019-2020, 42% had HIV; 62% of Black transgender women and 35% of Hispanic/Latina transgender women interviewed had HIV. These data reflect the need for innovative, focused engagement with HIV prevention, testing, and treatment efforts for women.

In 2022, preliminary data indicate that only 15% of women in the United States who could benefit from PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)—one of our most powerful HIV prevention tools—were prescribed PrEP. CDC continues to work with our health care and public health partners to expand women’s access to PrEP, including CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, which has a focused initiative for women in English and Spanish called She’s Well: PrEP for Women or SanaYPoderosa: La PrEP para las Mujeres. Also, Sister to Sister: Take Control of Your Health, a CDC-supported intervention, is a one-on-one, woman-to-woman, brief clinic-based intervention where a provider offers their patient the knowledge and skills they need to reduce their chances of getting HIV. CDC is also funding HerPrEP, a research study that aims to identify, select, and adapt strategies for engaging Black women in PrEP care and identify key barriers and facilitators to increasing these PrEP implementation strategies among Black women.

Transgender Women Involved in Strategies for Transformation (TWIST) is a CDC-supported intervention written by transgender women for transgender women. TWIST aims to increase sexual health knowledge, build self-efficacy to make decisions based on personal values and goals, and strengthen their social support networks. Additionally, CDC ‘s TRANSCEND demonstration project is funding clinics providing services to transgender people in collaboration with community-based organizations to develop and evaluate community-to-clinic models for whole-person approaches to HIV prevention and care services, gender-affirming services including hormone therapy, and primary health care.

Help us promote NWGHAAD by downloading and sharing resources from CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, the national campaign of both the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Let’s Stop HIV Together is an evidence-based campaign created in English and Spanish that aims to empower communities, partners, and health care providers to reduce HIV stigma and promote HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. Support our efforts to make HIV testing free and accessible to people disproportionately affected by HIV by sharing Together TakeMeHome with your colleagues, networks, and communities. You can also share social media content from the digital toolkit using the #NWGHAAD and #StopHIVTogether hashtags. I know much work remains, and you, our colleagues and partners, are essential to these efforts.


/Robyn Fanfair/

Robyn Neblett Fanfair, MD, MPH
Captain, USPHS
Division of HIV Prevention   National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention