National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) is an annual, nationwide observance, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). Every year on March 10 — and throughout the month of March — local, state, federal, and national organizations come together to shed light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls and show support for those at risk of and living with HIV. This year marks the 14th annual observance of NWGHAAD.
Why is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day important?
HIV and AIDS are still widespread public health issues, and women remain vulnerable to infection — especially African-American and Hispanic women.1,2 In fact, any woman who has sex can get HIV, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. Today, nearly 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with HIV, and nearly 1 in 4 of them are women.3
The 2019 National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day theme, HIV
Prevention Starts with Me, emphasizes the role everyone — women, men, community organizations, health care professionals, those who are HIV-negative, and those who are living with HIV — plays in HIV prevention. There are steps you can take to protect yourself, your partner, your patients, family, and neighbors from HIV infection:
- Get an HIV test, which is free and confidential. To find a location, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
- Practice safe sex.
- If you are HIV-negative and your partner has HIV, talk to a doctor about taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that can reduce your risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent.4 Find a PrEP provider near you at www.preplocator.org.
- If you are living with HIV, talk to your doctor about ways to stay healthy and take your medication as prescribed to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load. It can help prevent spreading HIV to your sexual partner or, if you are pregnant, to your baby.
- 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 is an anti-HIV medicine that you take within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV to lower your chances of getting HIV.
- If you are a health care professional, you should know the screening guidelines, talk to patients about their risk, and encourage patients living with HIV to adhere to treatment.
Who should participate in National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?
Any individual or organization can observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. For more information, visit www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad.
How do I observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?
You can plan a National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event; spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr about the day; and use the hashtag #NWGHAAD on social media. Visit www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/resources to get started.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2018). HIV Among Women (PDF, 388 KB). https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/group/gender/women/cdc-hiv-women.pdf
2 CDC. (2018). HIV and Hispanics/Latinos. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/ hispaniclatinos/index.html
3 CDC. (2018). HIV Surveillance Report, 2017 (PDF, 6.4 MB). http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/ library/reports/surveillance/cdc-hiv-surveillance-report-2017-vol-29.pdf
4 CDC. (2018). HIV Basics: PrEP. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html