Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. HIV/AIDS continues to exact a terrible toll on women that is being felt in communities in every part of the world. In the United States, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10 draws attention to the crisis facing women and girls and empowers them to learn their HIV status and increase their knowledge about prevention and treatment of the disease.

About half of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide are women. In addition to caring for themselves, many women face the added responsibility of nursing sick family members, the possibility of property loss if they become infected or widowed, and violence if their positive status is discovered. The death of so many women of child-bearing age as a result of the epidemic has also created a generation of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS – about 15 million are estimated to have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

In the U.S., the proportion of AIDS diagnoses reported among women has more than tripled since 1985. About 280,000 women are living with HIV/AIDS, with about 15,000 new infections in 2006. The most common mode of transmission is heterosexual sex. In 2005, girls represented almost half of AIDS cases reported among teens.

HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death for both African-American and Hispanic women in the United States, and African-American women are 23 times more likely to contract the disease than white women.

In honor of the only continuing woman (or character period) on soaps who is HIV positive, here is a look back at some scenes from 1995, the year Robin found out she had HIV.

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