The 4th Annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (3/10/09) should help us all remember that HIV/AIDS poses special risks for women and girls.
There are more than 278,000 women and adolescent girls living with HIV.
80 percent of the females in the US living with HIV are minority females.
Nearly 94,000 American women and girls with AIDS have died since the epidemic began.
Women and girls represent more than one quarter of all new HIV infections in the United States.
Most (80 percent) young women in the United States are infected from sex with a male partner who has HIV.
Globally, half of the estimated 33 million people living with HIV are female, but in sub-Saharan Africa, 60 percent of the people with HIV are female.
To protect themselves, young women must learn the HIV status of their male partners and be tested themselves. Early diagnosis and treatment prolongs life and reduces further transmission of HIV. In addition, they should use condoms to protect all sexual intercourse involving the exchange of body fluids.
Most importantly, they need the women in their lives to talk with them about sexuality and teach them how important it is to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.