Fact: 60% of women living with HIV in the United States are African American women. That’s a hard statistic to face, but it’s essential to understand the extent to which Black women are continually effected by HIV and AIDS. Knowing the numbers is the first step to having an open discussion about what we can do as a community to improve our health and the health of our partners. And we can start by getting tested.
For many women, getting tested isn’t something that’s talked about at length in our communities. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about how to get HIV, how it spreads, and even how to prevent it. Because of this, many women, especially those in committed relationships or those who have been misinformed about how the virus is transmitted, don’t feel it is necessary to get tested. Let us share 5 facts why you absolutely should be getting tested on a regular basis:
- The majority of people who are living with HIV are in the African American and Latino communities.
- Most new HIV diagnoses in women are attributed to heterosexual sex.
- Women who may not be aware of their partner’s risk factors (drug use, other sexual partners) may not use proper protection.
- Some sexually transmitted diseases may increase the chances of getting or transmitting HIV
- An estimated 1,859 women died from HIV or AIDS during 2013.
With this knowledge, it’s easy to understand why getting tested should be priority for everyone, especially women. Make getting an HIV screen at your normal check up part of your healthy lifestyle or even more frequently if you have any risk factors such as: participating in anal sex, have had multiple sexual partners since last screen, have been diagnosed with an STD, or had intercourse with anyone who has additional risk factors as well.