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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2021

March is Women's History Month, a time that highlights and celebrates the various contributions women have made to American history, culture, and society. March is also an important month within the HIV/AIDS community. March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). This year's theme is You. Me. WE. Changing the Face of HIV.

The purpose of NWGHAAD is to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS and the specific issues that impact women and girls. The day is also an opportunity to support women and girls who are currently living with HIV/AIDS and to educate others about the virus.

Important statistics to know

The following statistics show the impact of HIV/AIDS on women living in the United States:1-3

  • 1 in 4 people living with HIV is a woman.
  • From 2010 to 2017, new HIV diagnoses decreased 23 percent among women overall.
  • 43 percent of transgender women who received an HIV diagnosis live in the South.
  • For every 100 women living with HIV, 66 received some care, 51 retained care, and 53 achieved viral suppression.
  • Of all age groups, use of PrEP was highest in women aged 25-34.

Experiences of women living with HIV

Read these articles from community advocates of H-I-V.net as they share their experience of being a woman living with HIV/AIDS.

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I’m Sex-Positive Because I’m HIV Positive
Zora Voyce
"Being HIV positive, people see me as a threat and endangerment toward others. Therefore, people believe I should opt-out of engaging in sexual activity to give them a piece of mind. The problem with that statement is that those people are only thinking about themselves and are not thinking about people like me."

Struggling While Parenting
Octavia Lewis
"I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t repeat what was done to me. I would always be willing to have uncomfortable conversations with my boys. So, I have been struggling with how to raise my boys to be their authentic selves while trying not to harm others in the process. I found how to forgive my parents and grandparents for not being able to hear me."

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Accepting Myself, Even When Others Don’t
"People will often use words that will hurt your feelings, but learning who you are will help you stay true to yourself. Learning to accept myself has helped me understand that anything someone says about me or to me does not define me. Sometimes having depression makes me forget the previous."

HIV Testing and Well-Woman Exams
Heather Renee
"We learned that well-woman exams do not always include HIV testing. This was a big shock to all of us in my family. We assumed that, if you went for a well-woman exam, then you were automatically being tested for everything while you were there."

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Dear Mama: HIV and Motherhood
Kamaria Laffrey
"I embrace who I am today, learn from the woman I was yesterday, and look forward to the queen I will be in the future. These are just some of the things that HIV has taught me, and through this lens, I pray my daughter is watching, learning, and being molded into a better woman than me."

You Don’t Live in the Skin I Am In
Dee Conner
"The shame of a virus that we did not ask for, but yet still we hide, cry, and pretend it is not there. Only to keep going, living decades of not telling anyone – not the church or even the closest person to you – because of that mental fear or internalized stigma, seeing yourself as they would see you."

Connect with other women living with HIV

Would you like to connect with other women in the H-I-V.net community? Join the conversation here on the discussion forum Women Living with HIV/AIDS or share your experience with a story submission.

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