HIV a Significant Risk for African American Women

On this 30th National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day we wanted to remind people that women comprise 25% of the AIDS diagnoses – and that they are primarily infected from having had sex with men. The estimated rate of HIV infection among black women is nearly 20 times higher than the rate for white women, and four times as high as that of Latina women. And new research indicates that even though black women are 14% of the population, they account for 66% of new infections in women – bringing an even more urgent need for effective measures to prevent new infections. The study is based on research in six geographic regions in the United States (none in Colorado) where HIV and poverty are known to be more common – but it can tell us a lot about what is going on in the rest of the country. We’ve known for some time that black women in the United States are disproportionately impacted by HIV, but this new research shows that the impact is even greater than we first knew.

We will continue to learn as research continues on this and other aspects of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. What we do know is that HIV is preventable and treatable – and being tested, knowing your status, talking to your partner about his or her status, and using condoms (male or female) during sex are instrumental in preventing new infections. You have the power to protect against and prevent HIV – just use it. beforeplay.org has resources to find health care services for testing and treatment and importantly, how to talk with your partner to protect your health.