The Department of Health’s STD/HIV/TB Program will host two educational forums as part of activities commemorating National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The forums will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. beginning Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at Roy L. Schneider Hospital’s Conference Room A in the St. Thomas-St. John district and on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at the Juan F. Luis Cardiac Center’s Bennie and Martha Foundation Conference Room.
This year’s theme is “Women and Girls Taking Action in the Fight against HIV/AIDS. What can YOU do?” Topics at the forums will be on the following:
- Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women;
- Contracting STDs;
- Health Education and Risk Reduction Messages ;
- Impact of re-infection of HIV and AIDS
Residents interested in attending should call 340-774-3168 to RSVP or to request further details.
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed annually on March 10 in conjunction with the Office of Women’s Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to raise awareness about the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.
Since HIV was first reported in the early 1980s, there has been an increase in women becoming infected with HIV. Today, about one in four Americans living with HIV are women. Locally, data shows that of the 928 individuals reported as HIV positive, 350 are women. Data also shows that more than 90% of women contracted the virus through heterosexual contact, with most women diagnosed with HIV between the ages of 25 to 34, according to Gritell Martinez, STD/HIV/TB Director.
This year, the Office of Women’s Health is partnering with the Greater Than AIDS Campaign and asking, “What’s your deciding moment?” These deciding moments are everyday opportunities to take action against HIV such as getting tested, talking with friends and family about the disease, using condoms, practicing abstinence and taking medications as directed.
Commissioner Designee Dr. Mercedes K.C. Dullum said she is hoping that women and girls ask themselves this question and take appropriate action, such as getting tested.
“We were buoyed to see so many residents taking advantage of these tests at last weekend’s Agricultural and Food Fair and we hope to see this trend continue,” Dr. Dullum said. “Testing is always free and results can be known in just 20 minutes.”
The STD/HIV/TB Program offers Rapid Response testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, at clinics in both the St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix districts.