National Women + Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
America without hiv/aids in women: a wish for this national women and girls hiv/aids awareness day…
– By Susan Blumenthal, M.D. and Negar Avaregan, M.P.H.
“National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — March 10 — provides us with an opportunity to recognize the impact of HIV on women and girls in the United States, and to encourage action to reduce the burden of this disease in this population group. With women accounting for one in four of the more than 1.1 million Americans living with HIV, and representing one in five new HIV diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths in the United States, we must do more to end HIV/AIDS in women and girls in America.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of a pivotal moment in AIDS history: the inclusion of women in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) case definition of AIDS. Prior to 1993, well into the epidemic, HIV/AIDS was defined as a disease affecting only men. Many research studies failed to include females as a unique target population, excluding women from clinical trials of HIV/AIDS medications and preventive interventions. The omission led to a rapid rise in the number of cases in women with HIV/AIDS. Some hospitals wouldn’t even admit women to AIDS wards for treatment. On average, women were dying of AIDS in half the time as men did from the disease and researchers could not explain why. The lack of focus on women proved to be a major public health oversight and resulted in a startling development in the 21st century: Worldwide, there are now more women than men living with HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the proportion of AIDS diagnoses among women has more than tripled since 1985.”