WASHINGTON – In observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) on March 10, AIDS United reaffirms its longtime commitment and diligent response to the epidemic’s growing impact on women and girls in the United States.
As part of activities coordinated to advance the dialogue about the impact of the epidemic on women and girls in the United States, AIDS United President and CEO Mark Ishaug will moderate a March 11 White House Office of National AIDS Policy panel discussion on developing effective prevention strategies and awareness campaigns for U.S. women living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
AIDS United’s commitment to women and girls involves investment in three major ways: (1) smaller local grants through 26 community partners supporting prevention and services for women and girls, (2) contributing to the development of structural interventions to impact the lives of women most at-risk for HIV, and (3) a combination of financial and technical assistance resources to adapt and implement evidence-based HIV prevention interventions for women and girls. Specifically, since its inception in 1988, AIDS United continues to support hundreds of community-driven interventions targeting women and girls in our country’s most vulnerable communities.
In 2010, AIDS United partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CommonHealth Action, Aspen Institute, and the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University to develop a micro-enterprise intervention that also addresses HIV/STI risk reduction among unemployed or underemployed African-American women at-risk for HIV.
In 2006, AIDS United, with the support of Johnson & Johnson, developed a woman- and girls-focused grantmaking and capacity-building initiative called GENERATIONS: Strengthening Women and Families Affected by HIV/AIDS. GENERATIONS brings a combination of cash grants, evidence-based prevention programs, technical assistance and evaluation support to communities of at-risk women in the United States.
AIDS United’s bolstered policy and advocacy capacity now enables the organization to mobilize and advocate on local, state, and national levels for sound HIV-focused public policy that improves the lives and the health of women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, especially the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
“‘AIDS United has long recognized the increasing and disproportionate impact that HIV/AIDS is having on women and girls in our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” said Vignetta Charles, AIDS United vice president of programs and evaluation. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to evolve and enhance our support of women-focused HIV/AIDS prevention and access-to-care programs.”
Mark Ishaug, AIDS United president and CEO said, “We also strongly urge our local, state, and federal lawmakers to support public policy that improves the health and the well-being of women in our country. Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act directly benefit women. For example, insurance companies will not be able to charge women higher premiums simply because of their gender. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is targeting public and private sector investment to invest in community-based efforts to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care for people living with HIV, and reduce HIV related health disparities for women and other highly impacted groups.
“This is not the time to forget about HIV/AIDS in our country,” Ishaug said. “This is the time to enhance and advance our efforts to end it once and for all.”