Monday, March 10, 2014

Sister's Saying it For Themselves

Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Each year, March 10 is set aside to observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. All of us at COP24/7 salute the women and girls everywhere who bravely live with HIV/AIDS, are a caregiver of someone with HIV/AIDS, or who work to bring an end to this awful disease.
Locally, members of Southern WOW presented their Super Sister Saturday event last Saturday in recognition of NWGHAA 2014.

The event featured guest speakers Rev. Ann Russ, Kendra J., health educator Karen Swinton and comedian Amy Parnell. The day also included a makeover session provided by MAC cosmetics representatives, free massages by Evelyn and free healthy meal prepared by local chef Tony Montoya. "We were excited to do this program, said host Tonya Estell. She continued, "with today's response, perhaps we will consider scheduling this quarterly. Everyone agreed that it was a great celebration of ourselves!"

The purpose of this day is to recognize the impact of HIV on women and girls and encourage action to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS among women and girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the end of 2010, 1 in 4 people living with a diagnosis of HIV infection in the United States were women.

The following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscore the impact of HIV/AIDS on women:
  • At the end of 2010, 1 in 4 people living with a diagnosis of HIV infection in the United States were women.
  • Compared with women of other races/ethnicities, black/African-American women and Hispanic/Latina women are disproportionately affected by HIV infection. Of the total number of new HIV infections among women in the United States in 2010, 64% occurred in blacks/African Americans, 18% were in whites, and 15% were in Hispanics/Latinas.

Southern WOW ( Women on Women) which is a support group for "women who love women." according to the groups organizers at The Living Affected Corporation. ( ) The agency has been serving the area for six years while addressing health disparities, social determinants, and providing sexual health information and interventions. For 2014, the organization is seeking to widening its scope of work and programing to the LGBTQI community. Call 379-8203 for more information..

The Importance of Community Based Organizations for Women and Girls

By Priya Rajkumar, Vice President of Client Health Services, Metro Wellness and Community Centers

On March 10th each year, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day brings to the forefront the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. The unique challenges women face from partner violence, lack of child care, and absence of support and hope are issues which are often overlooked. Not to mention the impact of poverty and limited resources that is in the mix to manage.

Metro Wellness and Community Centers (Metro) has for so long understood the tremendous impact of these issues on women and girls. Providing gender responsive programming to help support, empower, and provide hope to women and girls infected and affected by HIV/AIDS has been a successful strategy in helping women to overcome numerous barriers to attain good health and stability in their lives. I am grateful to be part of the difference that Metro makes in the lives of the many women we serve. However, there is much more work to be done.

Click here to read more of Priya’s blog about the importance of community based organizations for women and girls.

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