HIV & AIDS in the United States: Update on Women

March 8, 2019

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), an observance sponsored by the Office on Women’s Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. This year’s theme, “HIV Prevention Starts with Me,” reminds us that everyone, regardless of their HIV status, can make an impact in preventing new HIV infections in women and their partners. The theme encourages women to take charge of their health through prevention measures, such as taking daily medicine to prevent HIV called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), if they are at high risk for getting HIV.

In recent years, we have seen promising outcomes related to HIV and women. For instance, between 2010 and 2016, there was a 21% decrease in HIV diagnoses among women in the United States. More specifically, there has been a 25% decline among Black women and a 20% decline among Hispanics/Latinas. Rates have remained stable among White women.

Despite promising declines in new HIV diagnoses, there are still opportunities for improvement. In 2017, women accounted for over 7,000 new diagnoses or 19% of diagnoses in the United States. In 2015, 1 in 9 women with HIV were unaware that they had it. Furthermore, even with declines among Black women and Hispanics/Latinas, these populations continue to be disproportionally affected by HIV. For instance, in 2017, Blacks/African Americans made up 13% of the population, but accounted for 59% of diagnoses of HIV infection among females.

These data demonstrate why now is the right time for the proposed federal initiative to end the HIV epidemic in America, which can help improve the health of women and girls in the coming years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to working with its partners to support the prevention of HIV transmission and the health of women with HIV.

An important component of the federal initiative is to protect people at risk for HIV using potent and proven prevention interventions. Recent CDC data demonstrate that over 170,000 women in the U.S. are eligible for PrEP, a medicine that can prevent HIV. In addition to encouraging healthy behaviors like condom use and testing, we can use options like PrEP for those at high risk for HIV. If we work together to incorporate these interventions, we can expect even more progress in preventing new HIV infections.

Sincerely,

Eugene McCray, MD

Director

Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/hiv

 

Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH

Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS

Director

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/nchhstp

filed under: HIV