Washington, D.C.—The face of HIV/AIDS is changing. Globally, women are more likely to become infected with HIV than men, conflicting with long-held perceptions that HIV/AIDS is a man’s disease.
“This new data is alarming,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “More than ever before we need to recognize the special risks HIV/AIDS poses for women and girls and educate them about prevention.”
March 10th marks National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a nationwide observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. More than 200 events will take place across the country to encourage discussion and educate women and girls about the importance of getting tested.
“Today serves as an opportunity for organizations and individuals to come together to create understanding, offer support, encourage discussion, and most importantly get an HIV test during routine medical care,” says Frances Ashe-Goins, RN. MPH, acting director, Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Cathy Olufs, 45, an HIV/AIDS activist with the Center for Health Justice in Los Angeles knows firsthand the impact HIV can have. She was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 and has been actively involved in promoting awareness throughout Los Angeles ever since. During National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, her organization will host an educational program in a local jail promoting HIV testing.
“Our goal is to empower women to get tested and know their status,” says Olufs. “I know how frightening getting tested can be, but it is extremely important for all women to do. And while the impact of HIV/AIDS can be devastating, I also know that it is possible to live life to the fullest.”
For more information on today’s events taking place, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/NWGHAAD/.
Office on Women’s Health
The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) was established in 1991. OWH coordinates the efforts of all the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ agencies and offices involved in women’s health. The office works to improve the health and well-being of women and girls in the United States through its programs, by educating health professionals, and motivating behavior change in consumers through the dissemination of health information.
Note: All OPHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at .
Contact: Elizabeth Osborn