The following statistic will probably come as a surprise to you, every 35 minutes a woman tests positive for HIV in the U.S. SheSpeaks recently featured a poll asking whether our members had heard this statistic before and the results were pretty alarming. Almost 89 percent of us had never heard this statistic and judging by the comments left on the site and on the SheSpeaks Facebook page, we were all shocked to hear so many women are testing positive these days.
Womenhealth.gov recently released information about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness day, March 10th, in which many states took part in events to try and get the word out about the rising number of women testing positive. The website states that 1 in 4 of those suffering from HIV are women, a number that has gone up dramatically since people were first diagnosed in the 1980’s. African American women are suffering the most as HIV/AIDS is reported as the leading cause of death to women aged 25 to 34 within this group.
A recent report from the ABC program "The View From The Bay" discusses why more and more women are testing positive for HIV each year. Women’s sexual health expert, Dr. Jennifer Gunter, describes why she believes women are becoming infected. Gunter says that most women are more worried about getting pregnant rather than getting infected with HIV. By the time teens hit the 9th grade, it is reported that 33 percent of them are sexually active while only 45 percent of those that are sexually active teens are using condoms.
Another reason women’s numbers are going up is that menopausal women rarely use condoms because they know they can not get pregnant and their doctors do not stress the importance of safe sex to women of this age group. Gunter reminds women of the recent reports of a man arrested for having sex with more than 100 women without disclosing to them that he has HIV.
What do you think of the rising number of women testing positive for HIV?
What do you think should be done to get the word out to more women?
the first sentence i read my mouth dropped, i cannot believe it and i had no idea. i think women trust men to much and they need to put more of a guard up. they need to start teaching more in schools, tv and magazines. they need to scare people they need to get peoples stories out. this is outrageous and we need to know
These statistics are so disheartening. I can't believe no one waits anymore!
Also an increase in Hepatitis and TB. I wish they taught teens a Sanitation and Sterilization class, if kids understood more about bacteria, viruses and fungus (rather then a sex ed approach).
Aside from the issue of teen sex - I think the point of this discussion was women as a whole, not just teens - there is an issue of media/societal awareness. In the 90s, closely following the AIDS crisis, there was a heightened awareness of the disease and how to prevent it. Now you just don't hear as many stories and there are not as many messages, P.S.A.s and celebrities talking about AIDS. The message has been lost somewhere. We need to accept the fact that there is no one moral standard that will apply to everyone, that is just impossible. AIDS is a reality, a real issue, not a moral issue. Everyone should stand by their own beliefs and morals, whatever they may be, but realize that those things must be partnered with awareness and education.
Maybe changing society's attitude towards sex would be nice (I guess?) but is that realistic? We need to think about options that will have a real impact . 1) Parents need to have an open dialogue with their kids about sex. And by open that means discussing both beliefs on abstaining (or not abstaining) and discussing disease, pregnancy and protection. Let's face the facts- kids don't always follow what their parents say. 2) There needs to be a basic health-oriented sex ed curriculum. Its not a moral issue, its a basic health issue. The statistics show that STDs and teen pregnancy have skyrocketed since abstinence only sex ed was put in place. Its perfectly reasonable to teach abstinence, but we need to make sure everyone knows the facts too. Think Bristol Palin! It would be nice if everyone got it at home, but realize that not everyone's parents are going to talk to them. I came from a good home, but my parents were too afraid to talk to me about sex.
I agree with Lusadi. I think the media and society encourages young teens to think "sex" is cool. Its the whole "Everybody is doing it" situation. Its getting worse with every generation. Just the other day my friend caught her little sister texting about oral sex to a friend...her sister is in the 5th grade! and they come from a conservative family who attends church regularly. My friend is in her 20's and is still a virgin and I know her parents make a point talking about sex with their kids but it seems like the kids just do what their friends are doing because they want to fit in....
I think the rising number of women testing positive for HIV is also because they don't talk about it as often as it used to be talked about..I have 3 nieces that are all 14yrs. old & in the 9th grade,they are asked on a daily basis if they want to have sex,and today that is no big deal to these kids.I think these girls need more places they can go to for information on keeping themselves safe from STD's ect..
I think the rising number of women testing positive for HIV is a direct reflection of the lowering of the moral standards of our society. Promiscuity is tolerated, encouraged, and promoted. It should be expected that serious sexually transmitted diseases will rise accordingly. I know this is not going to win me any popularity awards, but I think that society needs to evaluate its moral permissiveness. The only way to lower the disease rate is to make the activity socially unacceptable.