As women, we hear often about breast health, getting a mammogram; heart health; good nutrition; exercise; pre-natal checkups, and the like, but one area that we may overlook is HIV risk. Each year, on June 27, the United States observes National HIV Testing Day. It is a day to remind us to get the facts and get tested for HIV at least once if we are between the ages of 13 and 64 years of age.
In 2011, the latest year for which data are available, 23 percent of all persons living with HIV were women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at some point in her lifetime, one in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV compared to one in 106 Latinas, and one in 526 white women. Heterosexual contact with a male partner who is HIV positive is the most common means of transmission for women.
Making HIV Testing Part of Routine Check-Ups
As part of our regular check-up, it is important for us to discuss with our health care provider our HIV risk and get tested for HIV. Local health departments and community-based organizations are also resources for information. CDC supports several evidence-based behavioral interventions that promote HIV awareness and prevention in women. One example is Sister to Sister, a one-on-one intervention developed specifically for sexually active black women.