CDC Observes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 10, 2015

Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Dayexternal icon (NWGHAAD), a time when communities and organizations across the United States join forces to support women and girls and empower them to protect themselves, their partners, and their infants from HIV. The observance is sponsored by the Office on Women’s Healthexternal icon of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

HIV remains a substantial health issue for women, who comprise about one-quarter of all people living with HIV in the United States. In 2013, one out of five (9,278) of the estimated 47,165 new diagnoses of HIV infection were among women and girls over 13 years of age. These numbers are too high. However, the latest available data about HIV among women and girls show some encouraging trends. The rate of HIV diagnoses among adult and adolescent women decreased from 8.3 per 100,000 in 2009 to 6.9 per 100,000 in 2013, due in part to a 21% reduction in the number of HIV infections among African American women from 2008 through 2010.

African American and Hispanic/Latina women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. The rate of HIV infection among African American women remains the highest among all women—19 times that of white women and almost 4 times that of Hispanic/Latina women, reflecting unacceptable health disparities.

CDC has also identified gaps in the continuum of care among women living with HIV. According to a recent MMWR report, while 88% of women living with HIV were diagnosed in 2011, far fewer (45%) were engaged in HIV medical care, 41% were prescribed ART, and only 32% had achieved viral suppression. While testing and initial diagnosis are the first steps in the continuum of care, staying in care, adhering to the treatment regimen, and achieving viral suppression are essential to reducing new infections and improving the health of those who have HIV.

CDC remains committed to ensuring that all women, especially those most affected by HIV, are given the tools necessary to prevent the disease and to access HIV treatment if they have HIV. Campaigns under CDC’s Act Against AIDS (AAA) initiative deliver messages about HIV care and prevention for women. For example:

CDC also supports the national dissemination of effective HIV behavioral interventions for women to reduce their risk of getting HIV or to live a healthier life with it. Through its new health department HIV prevention cooperative agreement, CDC enables health departments to increase HIV testing opportunities for populations disproportionately affected by HIV, and to support linkage to ongoing HIV medical care.

Each of us can take action to protect our health and the health of our loved ones. We can speak out against stigma, fear, and misinformation in our communities to overcome the social and structural issues that place women at risk for HIV. And we can continue to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategyexternal icon by focusing our efforts on the areas and communities that need them most, including those women at particular risk for HIV infection, and their partners.

We have much more to do, but we have more reasons than ever to believe that by working together we can continue to make progress against HIV.

Sincerely,

/Jonathan Mermin/
Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., MPH
Director
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/nchhstp

/Eugene McCray/
Eugene McCray, MD
Director
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/hiv

Get Tested - Search for HIV Testing Services
Atlas Plus - Explore Interactive CDC Data
CDC 24/7 - Protecting America's Safety, Health, and Security
Page last reviewed: January 25, 2016