HRSA Observes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Content From: Laura Cheever, MD, ScM, Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: March 14, 20223 min read


Two Women

Every year on March 10, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau recognizes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of HIV on women and girls and encourage discussions about HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment. This year’s theme is Prevention and Testing at Every Age. Care and Treatment at Every Stage.

Prevention and Testing at Every Age

We encourage women and girls across the U.S. to get tested for HIV so they know their status and can access HIV care and treatment, if they test positive. While the rate of HIV diagnoses among women in the U.S. has decreased in recent years, about 23% of people with HIV are women, and in 2018, women accounted for 19% of new HIV diagnoses.[1]

Black women remain disproportionately affected by HIV; in 2018, 58% of women who received an HIV diagnosis were Black/African American. Social barriers, such as racism, discrimination, and HIV-related stigma that have a negative impact on health and well-being, may prevent some women from seeking HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services. HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) is committed to addressing these barriers, encouraging safe and supportive communities for women and girls with HIV, and providing access to health care providers and support services that address the whole person and can help improve health outcomes.

Care and Treatment at Every Stage

HRSA’s RWHAP helps women diagnosed with HIV get the care, treatment, medication, and support services they need. In 2020, 89.4% of women receiving RWHAP HIV medical care were virally suppressed—more than 20 percent points higher than a decade ago. We are incredibly proud of this progress, which we could not achieve without the dedication of our RWHAP recipients, subrecipients, and stakeholders.

But there is still more work to do, especially when it comes to addressing disparities among women with HIV. In 2020, 88.4% of Black women and 84.2% of transgender women in the RWHAP were virally suppressed. While these rates have increased over the last several years, they are lower than the national RWHAP average for women.

We must break down the barriers that prevent Black and transgender women from accessing HIV care and treatment to endthe HIV epidemic in the U.S. And we are working to do that through multiple Special Projects of National Significance initiatives focused on developing interventions and technical assistance toolsExit Disclaimer to improve care and treatment for Black and transgender women with HIV, as well as an initiative focused on addressing HIV-related stigmaExit Disclaimer.

Just a few months ago, we also reaffirmed the importance of providing gender-affirming heath care and services in the RWHAP. Our guidance supports HRSA’s efforts to reduce health disparities and improve access to HIV care, medication, and support services for people of transgender experience with HIV.

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we encourage you to learn more about the RWHAP and the resources available to improve HIV outcomes for women and girls. Follow HRSA on FacebookExit Disclaimer and TwitterExit Disclaimer and join the conversations using #NWGHAAD.