In honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10), the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and several of its partners in Chicago will present opportunities for women to learn about HIV, get tested and obtain condoms.
TPAN will provide instant HIV testing and condom distribution at Glitter Nail Salon (912 Madison Street, Oak Park) from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Diamond in the Rough Inc. invites teens to dress in their freshest red gear at the Empowerment Zone II (7421 S. South Chicago, Chicago IL) from 12 – 3 p.m. Music, performances, workshops, speakers, HIV tests, makeovers and raffles will take place. For additional information, call Octavia Richmond at 773-617-2949.
The South Suburban HIV/AIDS Regional Coalition presents a candid discussion about HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and domestic health titled “Protect, uplift and save: Affecting positive change in the lives of women.” The conversation will run from 4-8 p.m. at the South Suburban Council (1909 Cheker Square, East Door Entrance, East Hazel Crest, IL). A light meal will be provided. Register at eventbrite.com/chat&chew
In honor of the Chicago Female Condom Campaign’s fifth birthday, AFC and Planned Parenthood of Illinois will host an event highlighting the need for prevention options for women and girls, offering an overview of CFCC’s first five years of advocacy, and providing training on female condoms. The event will take place from 6 - 8 p.m. at AFC's headquarters (200 W Jackson Blvd., Suite 2100, Chicago). Contact Sara Semelka to register for this event.
TPAN presenters will be facilitating a discussion with 36 young women in the school’s senior class about HIV myths versus facts, HIV transmission, HIV prevention, HIV risk factors and various harm reduction techniques from noon - 1:10 p.m. (Closed to the public)
The TPAN offices (5050 N. Broadway Ave.) will provide confidential HIV testing and counseling, condom distribution, FC2 female condom demonstrations, holistic and sexual health seminars, an HIV and Women lunch presentation, and more from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
People of all genders will be encouraged to use Facebook, Twitter, email and phone to contact Illinois state legislators and urge them to support a fair budget from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for more information, to register, or to learn about AFC’s in-person Advocacy Days on Wednesday, April 15 and Wednesday, May 13.
Christian Community Health Center will be partnering with Lurie Children’s Hospital to provide HIV testing, education and referrals for participants at the Black Women's Expo at McCormick Place. More information about the expo can be found here.
Women of color and trans women disproportionately impacted by epidemic
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day aims to highlight the ways HIV impacts women and girls, including trans women and girls. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women 13 and older account for one out of every four HIV infections in the U.S. (approximately 217,000 women). In Chicago, approximately 4,550 women are living with HIV as of September 2014.
Just as the HIV epidemic disproportionately affects men of color, it also impacts predominantly African American women and Latinas. The CDC reports that HIV diagnoses among Black women are nearly 15 times higher than among white women, and HIV diagnoses among Latina women are four times higher than among white women.
Most impacted by HIV are transgender women; while few definitive studies exist to account for the number of trans women living with HIV, a study published in The Lancet in March 2013 reports that trans women were almost 50% more likely to be HIV-positive compared with women and men who are cisgender, or whose experiences of their gender match the sex they were assigned at birth.
“We need to focus more attention on outreach to women and girls — and transgender women and girls in particular — to ensure that they understand their risk for HIV,” said Simone Koehlinger, senior vice president of programming for AFC. “Resources like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), male and female condoms, and testing around Chicago and Illinois are there to minimize the impact of the HIV epidemic altogether.”