Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, recognizes National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Wednesday, March 10. The day is a nationwide event to highlight the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls and encourages them to make the best choices when it comes to sexual health.
In 2018, of the 38,739 new HIV diagnosis in the US, 7.401 or 19% were among women. Most of the diagnosis were attributed to heterosexual contact (88%) and small portion (15%) injection drug use. In Montgomery County, of the new HIV cases in 2019, females represented 18% with African American women making up half of those numbers.
What is more concerning, 1 in 9 women with HIV are unaware they have it. People who do not know they have HIV cannot take advantage of HIV care and treatment and may pass HIV to others and not know it.
Why are women so vulnerable to HIV?3
· Sexually transmitted diseases, like gonorrhea and syphilis, may place some women at higher risk for HIV.
· Some women don’t know their male partner’s risk factors for HIV (such as injection drug use or having sex with men) and may not use condoms or medicines to prevent HIV.
· Women have a higher risk for getting HIV during vaginal or anal sex than their sex partners. The riskiest behavior for getting HIV is receptive anal sex.
· Women who have been sexually abused may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple sex partners, or having sex without a condom.
The 2021 theme "HIV Prevention Starts with Me", reminds us that everyone, regardless of their HIV status, can make an impact in preventing new HIV infections in women and their partners. It also encourages women to take charge of their health by educating themselves, using condoms and taking medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) if they are at high risk of getting HIV. To get a free confidential HIV test contact Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County at (937) 225-4550