March 10, 2019—The Black Women’s Health Imperative’s On Our Own Terms (OOOT) Collaborative is spreading the word about Women and Girls and HIV Day today. And we know that we must continue to create awareness and support for black women and girls every single day. Black and Hispanic women are still significantly affected by HIV and AIDS in record numbers—higher than their white counterparts. In fact, any woman or girl who has sex can get HIV, regardless of her race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. Today, nearly 1 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with HIV,1 and nearly 1 in 4 of them are women.
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). 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.
On Our Own Terms and our collaborative partners are embracing the 2019 NWGHAAD theme, “HIV Prevention Starts With Me.” emphasizes the role everyone plays in HIV prevention—community organizations, health care professionals, and women and men, including those living with HIV.
What You Can Do…
There are steps you can take to protect yourself, your partner, patients, your family, and your neighbors.
Here are ten tips to protect yourself and your community:
- Get an HIV test, which is free and confidential. To find a location, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
- Prevent HIV by using a latex condom every time you have 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%. Find a provider near you at PrEPlocator.org(link is external).
- 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 or nurse 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.
About On Our Own Terms
On Our Own Terms is an initiative to improve sexual health and HIV outcomes for Black women. This initiative is supporting collaborations, solutions, and policies guided by the lived realities of Black Women related to HIV, reproductive health and overall wellness. On Our Own Terms, funded by Gilead Science, is guided by the thought leadership of a National Steering Committee, that bring a rich tapestry of experience, community outreach and commitment to the sexual and reproductive health of Black women and women of color broadly.
For more information on On Our Own Terms, contact Nakesha Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.