The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council Director of Community Advancement and Leadership Strategies Dr. Kim Johnson:
Washington, DC – “Today, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) commemorates the eighth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). At a time when funding for HIV/AIDS and other public health programs are facing significant cuts due to sequestration, NWGHAAD is not only a day to raise awareness of the epidemic’s toll on America’s women and girls, but also a day for action.
“Women bare a heavy burden of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, especially women of color. Each day approximately 26 women are newly infected with HIV. Eighteen of these women are African American. While recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a promising decline in new infections among women in 2010, the burden of infection continued to shift heavily toward women of color. Infection rates among African American women jumped from 15 times the rate of White women in 2009 to 20 times that of White women in 2010. At the same time, Latina women continue to face infection rates that are more than four times that of their White counterparts.
“Our nation must step up its efforts to combat this epidemic and ensure the health of our mothers, sisters and daughters. Congress and the President have taken an important step in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), especially given its expanded protections for Native populations. Domestic and intimate partner violence contribute to HIV vulnerability among women by making it difficult or impossible to negotiate condom usage. Additionally, abusive partners may also prevent women from accessing medical services that could reveal undiagnosed HIV infection. Unfortunately, the across-the board cuts to domestic spending known as ‘the Sequester’ threaten a number of programs aimed at improving access to care and improving health outcomes for women living with and vulnerable to HIV.
“On this, the eighth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, NMAC urges all women to get tested and to get involved in the fight to end this epidemic. We have the tools to realize an AIDS-free generation, but must do more to address the persistent and disproportionate impact this epidemic has on women of color.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622, ex. 3330, firstname.lastname@example.org