HIV In Women | Surprising Facts You Need To Know

HIV In Women | Surprising Facts You Need To Know

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HIV is still plaguing our community a few decades later. There are surprising facts about women being at high risk of contracting HIV. I’m sharing awareness about HIV in Women, and things you need to know! 

HIV In Women | Surprising Facts You Need To Know

I remember the first time I heard about AIDS. A celebrity from my city had come out with the announcement that they had AIDS. I also remember the conversations in my community around this topic, and how it has done a lot of damage in the African-American community.

For years, we’ve heard about men and HIV, but women are also at high-risk of contracting HIV. According to UNAIDS, every week, 7,000 young women around the world contract HIV.  This breaks down to a new young woman being impacted every two minutes! 

Did you know also know that young women (aged 10-24) are TWICE as likely to contract HIV as males the same age? 

HIV In Women | Surprising Facts You Need To Know

Here are things women need to know about HIV/AIDS:

  • You can contract HIV from someone who has it, and you did not use protection. {HIV is spread through body fluids, so keep that in mind that other type of sexual acts that produce body fluids can pass the virus on to you}
  • Sharing needles and syringes with someone who has the virus is another way you can contract it. 
  • You cannot tell if a person has HIV by just looking at them. Men can dress with all the swag in the world, and still carry the virus. 
  • Always use protection, AND get tested before engaging with a partner. 
  • If you did have unprotected sex, it’s important to get tested. 
  • There is no cure for HIV, but there are a variety of treatments available to help you live with the virus. 
  • HIV/AIDS disproportionately impacts African-American women in the United States. 
  • Today, young people make up over 20% of HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. According to the CDC, young people between the ages of 13 and 24 account for just over one in five HIV diagnoses.
  • When it comes to symptoms, many severe symptoms may not show up for a LONG time. 
  • Many women who contract HIV are located in low to middle-income countries, such as the estimated 25.5 million living in sub-Saharan Africa (with approximately 44% having the virus as of 2016). 
  • Even after all these years, HIV is still here; and 30% of people globally who are HIV positive don’t know it. 

Women, you have the power and right to say no to unsafe sex and environments. Have confidence in yourself, knowing your worth is WAY more than one night that can turn into the worst nightmare of your entire life. It’s important to be with a partner you trust and you both get tested prior to being intimate.

HIV In Women | Surprising Facts You Need To Know

I think of a story told to me by an elder in our community. A young girl was swooned by an older guy. He dressed nice, had money, wined and dined her. At first, she felt reluctant to want to go that far with him. However, he took her on a vacation- an exotic place- someplace she never thought she would be able to go on her own. She had the time of her life. He was the perfect gentleman, gave her everything she wanted. In return, she gave him what he wanted. At the airport, he gave her one last gift, telling her not to open it until she got on the plane. As the plane made its way down the runway, the girl opened the bag. Inside was a box. She opened that box and was startled to see a small coffin. As she opened the coffin, thinking maybe this was a joke and looking to find diamond earrings or a ring inside, there was a little note that said, “welcome to the end of your life. You now have HIV.”

“How could this happen? He was everything I wanted it- he dressed nice, treated me like a Queen,” she said to herself. This happened several years ago when treatments were not readily available. And although there are HIV treatments available today, there are still challenges for people in low-income and the African American community to get access to those treatments. 

Treatments for HIV have improved, including a promising possible HIV vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson which they announced at this year’s Global Citizen Festival.

Helping to continue to spread awareness about the ways a person can contract HIV, the symptoms, steps to avoid this, and treatment options is vital. Many people who are living with HIV, are not aware of the many treatment options available to them. I’m looking forward to hearing more information from Johnson & Johnson about their possible HIV vaccine, and how it can help my community, especially women. 

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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1 Comment

  1. November 13, 2017

    HIV is something that touched close to home for me. I had a cousin who died from the disease and it’s made me much more aware now. You can never be too careful with your partners, always get tested because you just never know.

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