Calls for Expanded Access to Education and Testing
New York — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and joins the National Institutes of Health and the public health community in calling for prevention education along with expanded access to HIV testing and treatment.
“AIDS is a preventable disease and yet is the number one cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 and 34. Women deserve better,” said PPFA Vice President for Medical Affairs Vanessa Cullins, M.D. “We all need to work together — the public health community, educators, clergy and our schools — to educate people of all ages and prevent the spread of this disease through consistent and correct condom use, and HIV testing and treatment.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are more than one million people living with HIV in the United States and nearly half are African American. In 2005, 49 percent of newly diagnosed cases of HIV were among African Americans. The U.S. Department of Health noted the particular impact of AIDS among women. For black women aged 25 to 34, AIDS is the leading cause of death. The incidence of HIV has reached epidemic proportions in Washington, DC, where African-American women, men and adolescents represented more than 80 percent of people with new diagnoses of HIV between 2001 and 2006.
“A person with HIV/AIDS may not show symptoms for 10 years or more, which is why early detection is crucial for reducing the rate of infection,” added Dr. Cullins.
In 2006, the CDC recommended routine voluntary HIV testing for adults, adolescents and pregnant women between the ages of 13 and 64 to help reduce the rate of infection as well as to address treatment options at an earlier stage.
Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide offer HIV testing, and in 2006 provided more than 300,000 HIV tests to patients.
HIV is transmitted in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. The most common test for the HIV virus and the AIDS condition is a test that looks for antibodies to the HIV virus in human blood. Scientific advances have led to treatment options that have allowed more individuals with this disease to live longer and more fulfilling lives than was possible in years past.
For more information about HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, please visit www.plannedparenthood.org or call 1-800-PLAN to find a Planned Parenthood health center near you.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America provides five million women, men and teens worldwide with health care services, information and education each year.
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