In the US, HIV/AIDS is a serious public health issue in the United States and can happen to people of any race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. Cis-women are more likely to get HIV during vaginal sex than men. In fact, 1 in 4 women will HIV positive in 2017.
Every year on March 10th, and throughout the month of March, federal, national, and community organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS. This year, the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will host “The Best Defense is a Good Offense: A Walk for HIV Prevention.” This walk will take place in honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to empower women and girls to protect their sexual health, engage in healthy relationships, and put their best defense into play. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls, as well as to encourage and empower women and girls to practice safe sex, get an HIV test, and talk to their doctor. 2017 marks the 12th observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. PHE’s very own Assistant Vice President of Evaluation and Organizational Learning, Dr. Angela Glymph, will join the walk this year.
Whether you’re dating or are in a committed relationship, you can take these simple, effective steps to help prevent HIV infection for you and your partner:
- Use condoms every time you have sex. According to a 2013 study, only half of sexually active female high school students used a condom the last time they had sex.
- Get an HIV test, which is free and confidential. To find a location, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
- Do not abuse alcohol or drugs.
- If you are HIV-negative and have an HIV-positive partner, talk to a doctor about taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body. Daily PrEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%.
- If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, visit a doctor right away. The doctor may decide that you should get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP are drugs that may lower your chances of getting HIV after you have been exposed to the virus.
The walk will begin on March 10th at 11:45 a.m. EST at the National Sylvan Theater (Washington Memorial Drwy, SW, Washington, DC 20024) and end at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building (200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20201). To register for the walk, please visit the NWGHAAD Eventbrite page. OWH invites you to wear red and post photos on social media using hashtags: #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense. For more information and to learn how you can observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, please visit womenshealth.gov/nwghaad.