National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Fact Sheet

One in four people in the United States living with HIV is a woman.1

More than 230,000 women and girls in the United States are HIV-positive.2

Only half of sexually active female high school students used a condom the last time they had sex.3


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What is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an annual, nationwide observance that sheds light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH) leads 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. This year marks the 12th observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Why is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day important?

Today, one in four people living with HIV in the United States is a woman 13 or older.1 About half of women living with HIV are in care, and only four in 10 have the virus under control.1 Women face unique HIV risks and challenges that can prevent them from getting needed care and treatment. Addressing these issues remains critical to achieving an HIV- and AIDS-free generation.

Prevention is also critical to achieving an HIV- and AIDS-free generation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 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.3
  • Hispanic women made up 15% of new HIV infections among women in 2015.3

These groups face serious prevention challenges related to low rates of testing, low condom use, and high rates of sexually transmitted infections.

With this year's theme, "The Best Defense is a Good Offense," OWH wants to empower women and girls to protect their sexual health, engage in healthy relationships, and put their best defense into play. Whether you’re dating or are in a committed relationship, you can take these simple, effective steps to help prevent HIV infection for you and your partner:

  • Use condoms every time you have sex.
  • Get an HIV test, which is free and confidential. To find a location, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
  • Do not abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • If you are HIV-negative and have an HIV-positive partner, you can talk to a doctor about taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body. 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 get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP are drugs that may lower your chances of getting HIV after you have been exposed to the virus.

Who should participate in National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?

Any individual or organization can observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. OWH invites public and private organizations at the local, state, and national levels to participate.

How do I observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?

You can plan a National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day walk or an HIV testing event; spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr about the day; use the hashtags #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense on social media; and get inspired by our ambassadors. You can also share our infocards on Pinterest. Use these materials to get started.

Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). HIV Among Women.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). HIV Surveillance Report, Vol. 27 (PDF, 3.91 MB). 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance —  United States, 2013.