Women’s health is an issue that should primarily be talked about during Women’s History Month, but it’s a year-round issue. More specifically, women’s sex health is a topic that is often brought up but not discussed to a greater extent and which still has barriers to break. It is up to all women to get better educated about their health and on March 10th be a voice in National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Every day forward, we will let everyone know that “the best defense is a good offense.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that “approximately one in four people living with HIV in the United States are women.” That means 230,000 women are HIV positive in America, right now and that any one of them could be someone you know and love. Although African American women are only 14% of the female population, African-American women had the highest percentage of new HIV infections in 2015 with a percentage of 61%. Hispanic women had 15% of new HIV infections in the same year.
Ways to Combat HIV/AIDS
1. Abstinence (not having sexual intercourse) is the best way to combat transmitting or receiving any sexually transmitted illnesses.
2. Have protected sex. In a 2013 study, it was found that half of the teen girls that are sexually active, do not use condoms. Use a condom!
3. Get tested frequently. An HIV test is free and confidential. Any girl over 15 years old can get tested.
4. Empower other women, young women, and girls, to learn more about their sexual health and practice healthy relationships. HIV can affect both men and females. Empower men as well. That way, everyone could win!
5. Use PEP or PrEP. PEP is post-exposure prophylaxis which lowers chances of getting infected by HIV after being exposed to it. PrEP is pre-exposure prophylaxis which is a pill taken daily that could reduce the risk of HIV taking hold in the body of an HIV negative person who may have intercourse with an HIV positive person by 90%.
Ways to Get Involved on March 10th and So Forth
1. Visit womenshealth.gov/nwghaadw and read through the resources section to get information on how to engage in social media activities with the Office of Women’s Health. One way to get engaged on social media is to join National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day's Thunderclap, which encourages you to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. (Use the hashtags #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense). Also, visit girlshealth.gov.
2. If you have a blog or any other platform that you use to connect with and share information with others, use it to spread awareness by posting an article, picture, or info card (even on Pinterest).
3. On March 10th from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm, Office of Women’s Health will be walking in Washington, D.C. for HIV/AIDS awareness. Wear red and join here: “The Best Defense Is a Good Offense: A Walk for HIV Prevention."