Blog By Jonathan Kantrowitz
The CT AIDS Resource Coalition announces National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Wednesday, March 10, 2010. This event is a nationwide initiative commemorated on March 10th every year to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States. More and more women have become infected with HIV since it was first reported in the early 1980s.
“HIV/AIDS continues to be a major concern for women in our state”, said Shawn M. Lang, Director of Public Policy for the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition. “Women may become unknowingly infected. We’re encouraging all women and girls to get routinely tested for HIV as part of their annual medical exams.”
In Connecticut, women account for 30% of all people living with HIV/AIDS. Nationally, this places Connecticut first in AIDS cases among women.
“Most people don’t think about it but HIV/AIDS is a women’s issue, and yet women account for 25 percent of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the country, making women the fastest-growing demographic affected,” said Teresa C. Younger, Executive Director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). “HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25 to 34.”
According to PCSW research, although Blacks/African-Americans and Hispanics represent 9.1% and 9.4% of Connecticut’s population, respectively, 62.3% of reported AIDS cases and 65.9% of reported HIV infections are among these populations. Among women, the disparities are even more dramatic, with Black/African-American and Hispanic women representing 70.2% of females with AIDS, and 72.3% of females with HIV infection.
“It is unfortunate but true that women and people of color are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Connecticut,” said Younger. “It is essential that women break through any cultural barriers and fears and get tested. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day gives women the opportunity to put our health first. We, as women have an obligation to take care of ourselves and take the lead to get tested.”