By Craig Regis

hivaidsribbonThis Sunday, March 10, is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which encourages organizations and communities across the nation to come together to encourage discussion, teach prevention, emphasize the importance of testing, and give support to women and girls living with HIV.

The impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls is too often overlooked. In Boston, women and girls accounted for nearly a quarter of all people living with HIV in 2011. The majority of these women contracted the virus through heterosexual intercourse. This day is a time to share knowledge and take action to ensure that we are doing everything we can to limit the impact of this disease on our city’s women and girls.

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

  • Of the 5,342 cases of HIV/AIDS reported in Boston residents to date, women and girls accounted for 24 percent (1,265) of the cases.
  • From 2010-2011, 27 percent (100) of all newly diagnosed HIV cases in Boston were women.
  • 68 percent of all women living with HIV contracted the disease through heterosexual intercourse.
  • Black and Hispanic women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in Boston, representing 68 percent and 18 percent of all female cases, respectively, to date.

What can you do?

Ask your primary care physician about getting tested for HIV or find a testing center here. If you don’t have a doctor, you can contact the Mayor’s Health Line at (617) 534-5050.

Craig is a project manager in our Infectious Disease Bureau.