Today, March 10, is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). Women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the U.S., and most are infected with HIV through heterosexual contact. Women of color are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS.
To learn more about the day, the role of new media in responding to HIV among women and girls, and how YOU can take action today, we spoke to Vera Yakovchenko from the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), the lead Federal agency for NWGHAAD.
“This day is a tool to promote discussion and information sharing, as well as the opportunity to provide the facts for women and girls on how to prevent infection and live with HIV and AIDS,” Vera told us. This year’s theme is HIV is Right Here at Home: Get Tested. Know Your Status.
OWH’s efforts to create and increase visibility for NWGHAAD have combined the use of new and traditional media. Recent statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project show that 75% of adult women are online. The data show that older girls also have a strong presence on online social network sites, like MySpace and Facebook––70% of older girls (ages 15-17) have used an online social network, compared with 54% of older boys.
Vera said, “NWGHAAD is for all women – MySpacers, Twitterers, text messagers, and others who share knowledge and resources widely while generating awareness.” OWH responded to the need for online information in a number of ways, including a Save-the-Date e-Card and through their MySpace page .
Looking for other ways to get involved with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?
- Visit WomensHealth.gov to learn more about NWGHAAD and take action to stop the spread of HIV among women and girls.
- Share information about HIV testing in honor of NWGHAAD. As Vera told us, “with help, we hope to reach women across the country with messages about HIV/AIDS prevention and the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.”
- Promote HIV testing and know your status. Visit www.HIVtest.org or send a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) to find your local HIV testing center.
- Check out how other organizations are using new media to respond to HIV among women and girls. For example, Planned Parenthood of CT is promoting a free text-messaging service that provides HIV facts, quizzes, and information for NWGHAAD.
- Stay connected all year long through Twitter – join OWH at: http://twitter.com/womenshealth and AIDS.gov at: http://twitter.com/AIDSgov .
Are you using new media to take action for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day? We welcome your stories!