Tuesday, March 9, 2010
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 10th
All women need to know about the human immunodeficiency (IH-myoo-noh-dif-FISH-uhn-see) virus, or HIV. HIV causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, a disease that weakens the body’s ability to fight infection and certain cancers. Having unprotected sex is the main way HIV is spread. It also is spread through injection drug use or from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States. More and more women have become infected with HIV since it was first reported in the early 1980s. Today, about 1 in 4 Americans living with HIV are women. It’s time for women to get tested.
The statistics are alarming. But there is good news. Taking some simple steps can protect women from getting HIV — or prevent women from passing it to others, including their children. Also, while there is no cure yet, many women with HIV and AIDS are living longer and stronger lives thanks to a number of new treatments. A wide variety of government resources also are in place to help people living with HIV.
Testing positive for the HIV can bring a range of emotions, such as panic, fear, and anger. But many HIV-positive women find that after some time, they are able to manage their condition and live life to its fullest. If you have just tested positive for HIV, don't give up hope. See Living with HIV/AIDS to help you find a doctor and the support services you will need. Keep in mind, there are people who care about you and want to help you, even if you have no insurance or money. You don't have to go through this alone.
The Red Pump Project