How You Can Outsmart HIV

Ladies, do you ever stop to consider your own power? As women, we’re capable of some incredible things! Really, we can do whatever we set our minds to. We’re leaders, astronauts, mothers, software developers, noble prize winners, artists, and so much more. But this National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10) and beyond, I want you to tap into your power to outsmart HIV.

Here’s why: About 1 in 4 people living with HIV in the United States is female. These women are your friends, neighbors, and loved ones. It’s time for us to empower ourselves — and each other — to take ownership of our sexual health. Whether you’re dating or in a committed relationship, there are simple, effective steps you can take to help protect yourself and your partner from HIV:

  • Always carry a condom, and insist your partner use one every time you have sex. Condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections when you have sex.
  • Know your status. Get a free, confidential HIV test so you know your status. Make sure you know your partner’s, too. To find a testing location, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
  • Don’t abuse drugs and alcohol. Drinking and using drugs may lead to risky behaviors that increase your chances of getting HIV.
  • Learn about PrEP and PEP. If you are HIV-negative and have an HIV-positive partner, talk to a doctor about taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Daily PrEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, visit a doctor right away. The doctor may decide that you should take post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), an anti-HIV medicine that may lower your chances of getting HIV after exposure.

It’s not hard to join the movement to end HIV among women. Get involved with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by:

  • Speaking up! Join our Thunderclap by donating a post on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. 
  • Sharing info! Use your social media channels to talk about HIV and AIDS. Don’t forget to use #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense in all of your messages.
  • Educating yourself! Learn about HIV and AIDS.
  • Joining us on March 10 on the HHS plaza at 200 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for free HIV testing!

I hope you’ll join us and become part of the generation working to end HIV and AIDS. Empower yourself and empower others to put their best defense into play this National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. For more information, please visit www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad.