Monday, March 7, 2011

March 10: Women and Girls and HIV/AIDS, Oh My!

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed specifically on March 10 every year, and it is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH). OWH encourages organizations to hold events throughout the entire month of March.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide observance that encourages people to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS and raise awareness of its impact on women and girls.

According to the CDC, HIV/AIDS is a serious public health issue affecting nearly 280,000 women in the United States. While men account for most HIV/AIDS cases, the impact on women is growing. In addition, research shows that, when compared to men, women face gaps in access and care.

For a handy fact sheet, go here:

PDF National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Fact Sheet (PDF, 434 KB)

(The new healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, will prohibit insurance plans from putting lifetime caps on the dollar amount that they will spend on benefits. In the past, patients with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other chronic diseases ran the risk of hitting a lifetime cap and losing access to care. The law also restricts most insurance companies' use of low annual dollar limits on benefits. In 2014, annual limits will be eliminated. In addition, the Affordable Care Act will help those living with HIV/AIDS be better able to afford their medications.)

The Affordable Care Act and National HIV/AIDS Strategy are two important steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but HIV/AIDS is an issue that affects all people, and we each need to do our part ot make a positive difference. On National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, OWH calls on individuals and organizations across the country to take action and bring attention to the impact HIV/AIDS has on women and girls.

It helps organizations across the country come together to offer support, encourage discussion, and teach women and girls about prevention of HIV, the importance of getting tested for HIV, and how to live with and manage HIV/AIDS.

Education is key to making a difference with the disease, but action items that people can do in response to HIV/AIDS are most empowering. Some ideas include:

  • Get tested for HIV, and encourage your friends to do so. If you can, offer incentives for people to get tested.
  • Encourage your newspaper or schools to sponsor an essay contest on the epidemic.
  • Submit an editorial or letter on local needs to your newspaper.
  • Encourage radio stations to air public service announcements.
  • Learn about the risk factors for acquiring HIV, and talk about them.
  • Make the choice to practice safer sex and avoid higher risk behaviors.
  • Talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Tell people about why this day is important to you and people you know.
  • Talk about the epidemic’s impact on your community with friends and family.
  • Provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Volunteer at a local organization that serves people living with HIV.
  • Help fund an event for the Day or support it with in-kind donations.
Visit for more information from the federal government about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment, research, and using new media in response to HIV/AIDS.