– In observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals are encouraging women to be tested for HIV, the virus which causes AIDS. This year's theme is "Every 35 minutes a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States, it's time to get tested." Anyone can get tested for HIV at no cost at any of Louisiana's parish health units, as well as through participating community-based organizations.
The following is a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services:
Every 35 Minutes a Woman Tests Positive for HIV in the U.S.
Currently 5,179 women and adolescent girls are living with HIV in Louisiana, and 278,000 nationwide. In the United States, women represent 26 percent of all cases. In 2009, women represented 32 percent of the new HIV cases in Louisiana.
The problem is much more significant in the black community. Black women make up the largest portion of new HIV cases for Louisiana women. Of the 409 women diagnosed with HIV in Louisiana in 2009, 82 percent were black, 13 percent were Caucasian, and 3 percent were Hispanic. Nationally, black women represent 12 percent of the female population and 64 percent of the women living with HIV/AIDS. For black women between the ages of 25-34, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death. To increase HIV awareness and the importance of HIV testing amongst black women, DHH coordinates "All about HER," a statewide program that aims to combat the problem.
Often, women are caregivers in families and are more concerned about the health of family and friends before their own health. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day aims to remind women to take charge of their health and make HIV testing a part of their normal screening process.
Getting tested for HIV is a crucial step because early diagnosis of HIV increases opportunities for treatment and prevention, allowing women and girls to live longer, healthier lives. HIV testing is especially important for pregnant women. HIV-infected pregnant women can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their unborn child by 98 percent if proper testing and treatment are obtained.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that if the worldwide trend continues there will be more cases of infected woman than men, in part because women face unique challenges that may place them at risk for acquiring HIV. Those who participate in high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex and intravenous drug usage need to understand the potential consequences of their behavior and the importance of routine HIV testing.
For more information about HIV/AIDS among women and girls, including locations offering HIV testing, please visit www.womenshealth.gov/NWGHAAD/ or www.hivtest.org. Questions about HIV and other STDs can be directed to the Louisiana Statewide AIDS/STD Info line, please call 1-800-99-AIDS-9 (1-800-992-4379) or visit www.hiv411.org .
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.
DHH Urges Women to Be Tested to Protect Themselves and Their Partners
By tonight, rain chances will be low. We will start with partly cloudy skies, becoming mostly clear late. Low temperatures will be in the low 70s. A few places north of I-10 will be in the 60s. It will still feel muggy overnight, thanks to the humidity. There could be some areas of patchy fog in the early morning hours on Monday. As we go through next week, the big story remains warm temperatures.More >>
A Longville man is dead following a two-vehicle crash in Beauregard Parish Saturday night. On Sept. 23, shortly after 9 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop D responded to a two-vehicle crash involving a motorcycle on U.S. 171, about a mile north of U.S.190, in Ragley, according to Sgt. James Anderson, State Police spokesman.More >>
What better way to celebrate the city of Lake Charles than by exploring its rich history? As the city gets ready to celebrate 150 years, the Calcasieu Parish Library decided to offer free bus tours through the city’s historic district.More >>
What do you get when you put bikers and nuns together? You get the 7th annual Run with the Nuns charity ride and 5K. Up to 50 runners and over 100 bikers came out to participate this year. Ten teams were up bright and early also cooking away for the event's rice and gravy cook off. Money from this event will go towards funding a new Hybrid Surgical Suite that will allow CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital to do more cardiac procedures. This year's event was dedi...More >>
On Saturday Lake Area residents claimed $151,000 in previously unclaimed property owed to them by the State of Louisiana. State Treasurer Ron Henson held a free public event at Prien Lake Mall to return unclaimed property to qualifying state residents.More >>