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March 10 is National Women and Girls with HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
 
 
  Fort Myers, FL March 9, 2010 -- More than 15.7 million women are HIV positive world-wide. In fact one in four HIV infected people is female. Every 35 minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with HIV. These statistics underline the critical need for women and girls to be tested. As the numbers continue to grow, HIV follows only heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death among women. Although there is no cure for HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, early detection can improve quality of life through medical treatments that can lead to long-term health.
 
"Many times women dont think they are vulnerable to HIV or AIDS because it has traditionally been associated with homosexual males,"....."Women represent the fastest growing number of new infections with African American women in first place."
 
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that HIV among black women (including African Americans and Hispanics) is greater than among all men except black men.
 
"The only way to stop the spread of HIV is to be tested, and if you are positive, to stop spreading the disease," says Salko. "Most people do not spread HIV on purpose. Knowing your status can help you make informed decisions." HIV is spread mostly by sexual contact and sharing needles. In some cases, HIV can be spread from a mother to an unborn child or after birth during breastfeeding. Health care workers may also be at risk if they are in contact with blood, semen or vaginal discharges of infected individuals. Diligent attention to medically determined universal precautions is encouraged.
 
"Getting tested is easy," says Salko. "We can do an HIV 1/2 Antibody test which detects antibodies produced by the body against HIV, usually two to eight weeks after exposure. The challenge arises when people who believe they?ve been infected get tested immediately after exposure before the body has had a chance to react. This can lead to a false negative and false sense of security. " The CDC recommends everyone to be tested at least once after 13 years of age and more often if a person is engaged in a high risk lifestyle including having more than one sexual partner or needle sharing.
 
 
 
 
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