National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, March 10

Cross-posted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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[From March 10, 2020]

Dear Colleague,

Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year’s theme is “HIV Prevention Starts with Me: Ending the HIV Epidemic Together”. This observance, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health, is an opportunity for communities and organizations across the United States to shed light on the impact of HIV on women and girls and support those at risk of and living with HIV.

In the United States there has been a reduction in new HIV diagnoses among women. Of all new diagnoses in 2018, 19% were among women. Overall, data from 2010 to 2017 show a 23% decrease in new HIV Diagnoses among women. For African American women, diagnoses declined by 27%, and 23% among Hispanic/Latina women. The rates remained stable among white women and American Indians/Alaska Native women.

Taking HIV medicine can make HIV viral loads undetectable. Women who get and keep an undetectable viral load – or stay virally suppressed – have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to sex partners.

In 2019, HHS launched Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. The initiative aims to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90% by 2030—something that can’t be done unless work is done by, with, and for women. The plan outlines the actions all partners can take:

Diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible. CDC recommends that everyone from 13 to 64 be tested for HIV at least once in a healthcare setting.
Treat people with HIV rapidly and effectively to reach sustained viral suppression. HIV treatment guidelines recommend all people with HIV begin treatment as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis. In 2016, among women living with a diagnosed HIV infection, only 74% received medical care.
Prevent new HIV transmissions by using proven interventions, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and syringe services programs (SSPs). HHS is leading a new program, Ready, Set, PrEP, that can provide HIV medication to thousands of people who qualify.
Respond quickly to potential HIV outbreaks to get needed prevention and treatment services to people who need them.
We are working closely with state, tribal, and local governments; national, state, and local partners; people with and at risk for HIV; and others to reach the goals of this bold initiative. CDC is providing new resources to high priority areas to support implementation of the four strategies listed above. We can make significant progress in preventing HIV among women and girls by empowering them to protect themselves and the ones they love. Click here for more resources about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Thank you for your continued support in this important work!

/Eugene McCray/

Eugene McCray, MD
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/Jonathan Mermin/

Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., MPH
Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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