SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - HIV/AIDS remains a serious public health issue for women and girls.
In Illinois, more than 7,000 women and adolescent girls are living with HIV.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins healthcare advocates nationwide urging education and testing on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed every March 10 since 2006.
"Increasing awareness and access to resources is key for women and girls, and for all populations that are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS," said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "Today, women represent a larger share of HIV infections than earlier in the epidemic—please get tested, and tell your friends to get tested for HIV."
Nationwide, women and girls made up two-thirds of people who got the disease through heterosexual sex.
In Illinois, 18 percent of diagnoses of HIV infection were among women and girls aged 13 years and older in 2010.
Women and girls of color—particularly black women and girls—are disproportionately affected.
In 2010, the rate of HIV diagnoses for black women and girls in Illinois was nearly 21 times higher than the rate for white women and girls and approximately six times higher than the rate for Latinas.
IDPH continues to foster community engagement and resources promoting HIV testing and educational programs through BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS, www.basuah.org), which is geared toward communities of color in Illinois.
IDPH also facilitates access to free HIV testing locations through its Text2Survive mobile locator service. Text IL and a ZIP Code to 36363 in English, or text "centro" plus the ZIP Code to 36363 to receive the information in Spanish.
Also visit idph.riproad.com for a full list of HIV/AIDS education and awareness events being held statewide.
For more information, please call the IDPH HIV/AIDS and STD hotline at 1-800-243-2437 and visit the IDPH website at http://www.idph.state.il.us/aids/default.htm.