Although it has been more than three decades since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first reported cases of females with AIDS, women and girls remain disproportionately burdened by the epidemic. Globally, women represent half of adults living with HIV. Young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are most vulnerable to infection. According to a 2012 report issued by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), one young woman acquires HIV every minute worldwide.
Today, March 10th marks the tenth anniversary of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). Established by the Office for Women’s Health, this observance day provides an opportunity to reflect on and raise awareness of how women and girls in the United States are impacted by HIV/AIDS.
In the United States, one in four people living with HIV (PLWH) are female. Black and Latina women remain disparately affected compared to women of other races/ethnicities. According to the CDC, 1 in 32 African American women and 1 in 106 Latino women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. There are a variety of factors that may influence a woman's risk for HIV. These include but are not limited to: biologic susceptibility while engaging in higher risk sexual behaviors, experience of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), poverty, stigma and discrimination, and limited access to high quality, culturally sensitive health care.
Fortunately, incidence of HIV among women and girls is declining in the United States; however, there remains a critical need for sustained collaboration among federal, national and community based organization working to empower women to access HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. This is embodied in the theme for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, “Share Knowledge. Take Action.”
Farmworker Justice collaborated with our Latino Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) partner organizations, ASPIRA and the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), to promote this important message and awareness day. We reached out to organizations and individuals with whom we work nationally and in the field to collect a series of thoughts and reactions on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Responses came from farmworker and Latino serving organizations, staff, our constituents, as well as representatives from our other AAALI partners and their affiliates. From each submission we created a word cloud image of a hand. These were then used to create a larger image incorporating the NWGHAAD logo to symbolize courage and strength, support and empowerment. Please visit our Facebook page to view the images and read each individual message.
Farmworker Justice is proud to continue in our work of promoting HIV knowledge, awareness, and action in farmworker and Latino communities. We encourage all of our partners, supporters and friends to support the movement to end the spread of HIV among women and girls today and every day.