(Washington, DC, Tuesday, March 8, 2017) - In 2017, 1 in 4 people living with HIV are women. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesâ€™ Office on Womenâ€™s Health (OWH) is calling on the nationâ€™s women and girls to take steps to protect themselves in the continued fight against the spread of HIV. OWH marks the 12th National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, 2017 with the theme, â€śThe Best Defense is a Good Offense,â€ť which is all about HIV prevention. OWH wants to empower women and girls to engage in healthy relationships and protect themselves and others from HIV infection.
HIV and AIDS are serious public health issues in the United States. Here are the facts:
- More than 230,000 women and girls were HIV-positive at the end of 2014.
- African-American women made up more than 61% of new HIV infections among women in 2015, but are only 14% of the female population in the United States.
- Hispanic women made up 15% of new HIV infections among women in 2015.
- Only about half of women living with HIV are getting care, and only four in 10 of them have the virus under control.
- According to a 2013 study, only half of sexually active female high school students used a condom the last time they had sex.
Whether actively dating or are in a committed relationship, these simple, effective steps can help prevent HIV infection:
- Use condoms every time you have sex.
- Get an HIV test, which is free and confidential.
- Do not abuse alcohol or drugs.
- Talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you think youâ€™re at risk for HIV.
Since 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesâ€™ Office on Womenâ€™s Health has led National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Every year on March 10, and throughout the month of March, federal, national, and community organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS. For more information, visit the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day website.