Take Charge of Your Lives: A Message from AIDS United to Women and Girls on NWGHAAD

By Rob Banaszak on March 10, 2011 in Policy/Advocacy

By Donna Crews, Director, Government Affairs
AIDS United

Today, March 10, we observe  National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD).  This year’s awareness day comes the day after the Senate voted against a funding measure  passed by the U.S. House of Representatives for the balance of this fiscal year. The spending plan would devastate women’s health by completely defunding Title X family planning programs, and blocking  all Planned Parenthood programs from receiving  federal funding.  It also proposes drastic cuts to global programs that support women’s health.   The bill also bars federal employees from working on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which contains many provisions that benefit women directly.  AIDS United is pleased that the Senate did not vote to approve the House passed version of H.R. 1, but we are concerned that we are in a political environment that launches such attacks on women’s and  girls health care and the total Affordable Care Act.

According to the Office of Women’s Health 280,000 women are currently affected by HIV/AIDS, which is growing among women in the United States.  In this political environment, with attacks on women’s  and girls’ health care, it is difficult to envision women feeling safe or comfortable protecting themselves from HIV.  It is difficult to envision women or girls feeling safe to ask for an HIV test, receive an HIV test result, or receive HIV care.  The community must work to ensure that all women can care for themselves and their daughter’s sexual health.

National Women Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day gives us the opportunity to encourage all women and girls to learn their HIV status.  If they are negative, they need to learn how to maintain their negative status by hearing prevention messages.  If they are positive, they need to learn how to access vital care and treatment.  The Awareness Day will give organizations that serve women an opportunity to focus on the impact that HIV is having on women, especially women of color.  Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha (African American sororities) are both educating their members with HIV prevention messages as well as information about the true impact  of HIV on the African American female population.

Awareness days help us to focus the country on individual populations so that we can discuss the true impact of HIV on different populations nationwide.  AIDS United is pleased after debate on such horrible attacks on women’s sexual health to have an opportunity to encourage women and girls to take charge of their lives and learn their status.

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