Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. A day to remind us of the long fight to end HIV/AIDS in women and girls, while also talking about the unique barriers women and girls face when it comes the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
What We Need to Know
280,000 women aged 13 and older are living with HIV in the United States (CDC).
About half of women living with HIV are in care, and only four in 10 have the virus under control (CDC).
Black women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 61% of recent diagnoses but only 13% of the female population (CDC).
In the US, 21.6% of transgender women are living with HIV (HRC).
HIV is more than three times more prevalent among black trans women than white or Latina trans women (HRC).
In NYC, black and Latina/Hispanic women comprised of 90% of all new diagnoses among in women in 2016.
In NYC, around 60% of new diagnoses among women were in heterosexual women of color age 30 and over.
In 2016, there were 144 new diagnoses of HIV among Asian and Pacific Islanders in New York City.
Dealing with HIV/AIDS as Women in the World
As an organization that has specialized in HIV care for over 25 years, we are familiar with the many barriers women and girls face when it comes to their risk, prevention, and treatment.
Raising awareness and destigmatizing HIV/AIDS is a crucial part of ending the epidemic. These awareness days give us the opportunity to highlight what's happening and how we can move forward.
As the CDC highlights, women and girls of color are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, and this is something we have must recognize on this day of awareness. As we know, marginalized people often have less access to quality care, and this becomes a challenging issue when we talk about HIV/AIDS treatment and retention in care for women and girls of color.
At Apicha CHC, we are also highly aware of the high rates of HIV/AIDS for transgender women of color that we serve. These women are disproportionately affected as well, and have even more complicated barriers and challenges when it comes to accessing safe, quality care.
So, we have a lot to think about today.
Let's Talk About Some Prevention
- Getting tested for HIV! Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, get an HIV test as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to lower risk for you.
- Talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taking medicine daily to prevent HIV infection, if you are at risk for HIV.
- Talk to your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 3 days through sex, sharing needles and works, or a sexual assault.
- Start a conversation with your sexual partner or partners about their status. There are many helpful resources to help you figure out how to talk about it.
(Information provided above is derived from the CDC)
What to do if you think you could be HIV positive:
- Get tested. If you haven’t been tested in a while or you’ve never been tested, it’s time! If you’re in New York City, come make an appointment at Apicha CHC or click here to find testing sites nationwide.
- If you are HIV positive, find a doctor who is an HIV Specialist. An HIV Specialist can work with you to get you on HIV medications and help you achieve viral load suppression. If you know you’re HIV positive and are not seeing a doctor, make an appointment with Apicha today.
Click here to learn more about early signs and symptoms.
How Apicha CHC Can Help You
At Apicha CHC, we are very proud of our viral load suppression rate for all our patients, the number of our patients on PrEP, and the number of people we get tested.
Our healthcare providers are specialists in HIV prevention, treatment, and care. If you come for testing and remain for care at our community health center, you will receive consistent treatment from a healthcare provider who can attend to all of your health needs including HIV.
There are three ways we can help:
1. HIV Testing
We provide completely confidential HIV testing services at Apicha CHC. To sign up for our HIV Testing services, click here and select HIV/STD testing from the drop down.
2. We can get you PrEP
If you become part of Apicha CHC's PrEP Program, you will be assigned a medical provider at Apicha CHC who will assess whether PrEP is right for you and will prescribe you Truvada as PrEP.
Our PrEP staff can also help you:
- Enroll in insurance or sign you up for special PrEP cost programs
- Set up your appointments
- Remind you when your pills are running out
- You can easily pick-up your prescription at Apicha CHC's brand new in-house pharmacy or you can use our free delivery service!
You can request an appointment to get started on PrEP here. Be sure to select appointment type as "Access to PrEP/PEP".
3. Become a part of our HIV Clinic
If you know you're HIV-positive and don't currently have a medical provider or aren't happy with the one you do have, feel free to become a part of the Apicha CHC family.
You can request an appointment here. Be sure to select appointment type as "Primary Medical Care".
HIV Specialty Care:All our primary medical providers specialize in HIV – you do not have to worry about being identified as HIV-positive by seeing a particular provider. Your dedicated provider will take care not only of your HIV, but any other medical condition you might have. This way, you don’t need to see multiple doctors and you can be sure that you are in good hands.
You will receive regular checkups for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, STDs. You will get necessary vaccines and cancer screenings appropriate for you. Getting your HIV care at Apicha CHC also means receiving annual mental health and nutrition assessments and counseling if needed.
Anal Cancer Prevention Program: One of our newest services is offering our patients anal pap smears and, if needed, high resolution anoscopy and treatment for abnormalities.
Transgender Health Clinic:We are committed to providing whole person Primary Medical Care to address the distinct needs of transgender and gender non-conforming, gender variant, and genderqueer individuals.
Specific services include: initiation and maintenance of hormone therapy; annual physicals; regular checkups for diabetes; cholesterol, blood pressure, HIV and STD testing; vaccines.
We also provide annual mental health assessments and short term counseling if needed or referral for ongoing therapy. Our case managers can also help you with many things, from helping find you name and gender marker changes, to helping you get gender affirming surgeries.
If you're interested in becoming a patient of Apicha CHC, you can sign up here.
This blog was last updated March 2018.