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HIV/AIDS: A Growing Issue For Women and Girls

Photo: Grandmother with girl and girl with mother
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day reminds us that HIV/AIDS is a growing issue for women. It is important for everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from HIV and to know their HIV status. Treatments are available to help women with HIV maintain their health.

Photo: Four women

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The theme for 2008 is "Honoring Our Sisters: Women Living with HIV/AIDS."

HIV/AIDS is a growing issue for women. In 1990, women accounted for about 11% of all new reported AIDS cases1. This percentage increased to over 26% of cases in 20052. Most women are infected with HIV through sex with men or injection drug use.

African American women are especially affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2005, 66% of the 9,708 HIV/AIDS diagnoses were among black women, compared to 17% among white women, and 14% among Hispanic women2. In 2005, HIV was the third leading cause of death for black women aged 25-44 and the fourth leading cause of death for Hispanic women aged 35-443.

Photo: Two girls

While the impact of this epidemic on women can be devastating, many women with HIV/AIDS are now living longer and healthier lives thanks to new treatments. However, women can’t get treatment if they don’t know if they are infected with HIV. Currently, up to 25% of all people infected with HIV don’t know it. Therefore, CDC encourages all persons between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested for HIV and to learn their HIV status. While there is no cure yet, there are now a number of HIV treatment therapies and medications available.

To learn more about HIV/AIDS and what CDC is doing to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, please visit


1CDC. Current trends AIDS in Women – United States. MMWR 1990; 39:845-846

2CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2005. Vol. 17 Rev ed. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC: 2007:1-46. Available at Accessed February 7, 2008.

3WISQARS. Leading causes of death reports, 1999-2005. Available at Accessed February 7, 2008.

For More Information

Photo: Pregnant woman

CDC HIV/AIDS Topic: Pregnancy and Childbirth
An overview of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among women and children. 

Graphic: CDC HIV/AIDS Publications

Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS among Women
Women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnosis.
(Also available in Spanish.)

Graphic: CDC HIV/AIDS Publications

Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS among Women Who Have Sex With Women
Data on HIV/AIDS infection among women who have sex with women in the United States.

Photo: Three women

Additional CDC Resources on HIV/AIDS and Women
Learn about the impact of HIV/AIDS among women in the United States.

Graphic: HIV Testing

National HIV Testing Resources
Find an HIV test site near you from the National HIV Testing Database, a CDC-sponsored service available 24 hours a day.

Graphic: HIV Graph

Race/Ethnicity of Women with HIV/AIDS Diagnosed During 2005

Page last reviewed: March 5, 2008
Page last updated: March 10, 2008
Content source: Division for HIV/AIDS Preventions, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Content owner: National Center for Health Marketing
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