By Meron Tesfai

March 10 is a nationwide observance day to recognize the special risks HIV/AIDS poses for women and girls, and to raise awareness of the disease’s increasing impact on them. The goal of this day is to encourage people – especially women – to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

At some point in her lifetime, 1 in 139 women will be diagnosed with HIV infection and Black and Hispanic/Latina women bear a disproportionate burden of the infections. Many women are often unaware that they have become infected and those who are aware or at risk for infection face large gaps in care and access to healthcare.

Some facts on HIV/AIDS in women and girls in Boston:

As of December 31, 2010, women accounted for 31 percent of all living HIV/AIDS cases in Boston.

Of the 1,232 women living with HIV/AIDS in Boston in 2010, their modes of transmission were:

  • 35% Heterosexual Sex
  • 21% Injection Drug Use
  • 33% Presumed Heterosexual Sex
  • 4% Other
  • 8% Unknown

What can you do?

Ask your primary care physician (PCP) about getting tested for HIV. If you don’t have a PCP, you can contact the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050. Additional information on HIV testing resources is available at www.hivtest.org.

Educate yourself about what you can do to protect yourself against infection, and spread the word to others. Information on HIV and prevention is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/women/index.htm

Multicultural Aids Coalition and ABCD Health Services together with Women of Color Roundtable invite you to a theatrical performance and resource fair on March 15. Learn more here.

Lee esta información en español. (pdf)

Meron Tesfai is a project manager in the Infectious Disease Bureau’s Education and Outreach Office.

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