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HHS Calls Attention to Increasing Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women and Girls

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:11pm
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day celebrated March 10

Over the last two decades, the proportion of estimated AIDS cases diagnosed among women has more than tripled, from 8 percent in 1985 to 27 percent in 2005. Women of color are especially impacted—prevalence rates for African-American women living with HIV is 18 times the rate for white women.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, March 10, 2009, is a nationwide initiative coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls in the United States.

"HIV/AIDS has a tremendous impact in the United States," says Dr. Wanda Jones, HHS deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office on Women's Health. "With events being held across the country, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity for organizations to come together to create understanding and educate women and girls about prevention."

Cathy Olufs, 40, of Los Angeles 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, our goal is to empower women to get tested and know their status," says Olufs. "I know first-hand 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 firsthand that it is possible to live life to the fullest."

On National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, hundreds of events will take place across the country to encourage discussion and educate women and girls about prevention, the importance of getting tested, and how to lead a normal, healthy life despite being infected. For more information and to view the events taking place, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/NWGHAAD/.

About the 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.

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