National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Highlights High Rate of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
March 10, 2010
Contact: Robert Yule
Testing and Treatment Critical to Achieving a Generation Free of HIV
In commemoration of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is urging women, particularly those who are or might become pregnant, to be tested for HIV.
While rates of HIV infection are decreasing in the United States, the incidence of the disease among women continues to increase. The most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that women account for more than one in four new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States. HIV/AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death among black women aged 25 to 34 in the United States, and is the fifth leading cause of death among all women in that age group.
Over the past 20 years, the Foundation has become a worldwide leader in the fight against pediatric AIDS. It works both domestically and globally to prevent new infections in women and children, as well as to provide treatment and support for those living with HIV/AIDS.
The vast majority of children diagnosed with HIV in the United States contract the virus through mother-to-child transmission. Testing is the most effective way for pregnant women to protect their own health and the health of their babies. If a pregnant woman learns she is HIV-positive, beginning treatment early in pregnancy can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby to less than two percent.
UNAIDS reports that globally, half of the estimated 33 million people living with HIV are female, but in sub-Saharan Africa, women comprise almost 60 percent of the HIV-infected population. More than 80 percent of infections in women occur through heterosexual contact, often because women are not aware of their male partner’s potential high-risk factors. The CDC reports that one out of five Americans living with HIV infection do not know they are infected.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a worldwide leader in the fight against pediatric AIDS. Its innovative research programs, collaborative training initiatives, advocacy efforts, and rapidly expanding international prevention and treatment programs are bringing dramatic changes to the lives of children and families affected by HIV and AIDS worldwide.