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Taking Action to Respond to HIV and AIDS Among Women and Girls


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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD)

Did you know that every 35 minutes a woman tests positive for HIV in the U.S.? That’s why the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) is encouraging women to get tested and help raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) which takes place tomorrow, Wednesday March 10.

Last year we shared some of the ways OWH was using new media to extend the reach of NWGHAAD. Around the United States an estimated 200 events will occur to get people involved in-person and online to observe the day and to take action in response to the epidemic. You can check out some of the in-person events happening throughout the country (and find one to attend!) on the NWGHAAD website. OWH is also hosting their own in-person NWGHAAD event at the Press Club in Washington DC on March 10th. You can register here Exit Disclaimer to watch a live webcast of this event.

OWH has posted NWGHAAD resources on their website—you can download web badges, banners and other resources such as posters and fact sheets. They have also been helping people stay connected all year long through their Twitter Exit Disclaimer account and the NWGHAAD MySpace page Exit Disclaimer.

Rock the Red Pump

Organizers in communities across the country are using online and in-person strategies to get the word out about NWGHAAD. In Chicago, The Red Pump Project Exit Disclaimer is asking bloggers to write about the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls as part of the annual “Rock the Red PumpExit Disclaimer campaign. And they are hosting a fashion show Exit Disclaimer to honor HIV/AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton Exit Disclaimer. In keeping with their mission to initiate conversation and spread awareness, The Red Pump Project will also launch a Twitter discussion Exit Disclaimer on March 10th about women and HIV/AIDS using the #redpump.

When we think about the best way to engage with women and girls around their health, it’s important to look at trends in new media use. In 2005 slightly more men than women were online social network users Exit Disclaimer. In 2009, the usage skews to slightly more women than men Exit Disclaimer. Clearly, strategies that combine online and offline components have the potential to reach a broad group of women and girls going forward.

What can you do today to encourage HIV testing for NWGHAAD? You can join the #NWGHAAD10 Twitter discussion Exit Disclaimer. You can find an event to attend and learn more about the epidemic as it affects women and girls. And you can share HIV testing resources — visit Exit Disclaimer or send a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) to find your local HIV testing center.

Thanks to all those getting the word out for NWGHAAD, including OWH, Vera Yakovchenko of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi, co-founders of The Red Pump Project Exit Disclaimer — and many, many others! Who is taking action to address the effects of HIV and AIDS on women and girls in your community? How will you take action on NWGHAAD? Let us know!