Help Close the Gap for Women on World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to bring awareness to the fight against HIV and AIDS. This year, the focus of the UN AIDS campaign is “closing the gap,” which means ­providing prevention, treatment, care, and support services to all people.

Poster_ClosetheGAPWomen, particularly young women and pregnant women, are often more at risk for and more affected by HIV. Most cases of HIV infection in women are diagnosed in the reproductive years. According to UN AIDS, in 2013, almost 60% of all new HIV infections among people aged 15–24 occurred among adolescent girls and young women.

An obstetrician-gynecologist is often the first health care professional a HIV infected woman encounters. In addition, many women of reproductive age consider an ob-gyn to be a part of their routine care. Therefore, ob-gyns are a critical part of the fight to increase access to screening, testing, counseling, and prevention methods for all women.

Earlier this year, ACOG released new guidelines to help improve preventive care for HIV. “Routine Human Immunodeficiency Virus Screening” was updated to lower the recommended age for HIV screening to 13, following the CDC’s recommendation that all women ages 13-64 be tested at least once in their lifetimes. The new guideline “Preexposure Prophylaxis for the Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus” recommends preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), in combination with other proven HIV-prevention methods, as a tool for women at the highest risk of HIV acquisition. More resources for ob-gyns and health care providers are available on ACOG’s Women and HIV website.

Obstetrician-gynecologists are women’s first line of defense against the AIDS epidemic. Join me this month in encouraging your patients to participate in HIV screening and testing.

This entry was posted in Women's Health and tagged by John C. Jennings, MD. Bookmark the permalink.

About John C. Jennings, MD

John C. Jennings, MD is the president of ACOG through April 2015. He is professor of ob-gyn at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin. Dr. Jennings was in private practice in San Angelo, TX, for 12 years before entering academic medicine. He has served as head of gynecology and program director of ob-gyn at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC; professor and program director of ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; chair and program director of ob-gyn at TTUHSC at Amarillo; and regional dean of the school of medicine at TTUHSC at the Permian Basin.

One thought on “Help Close the Gap for Women on World AIDS Day

  1. It is so important that we continue to educate and promote awareness to help those in their fight and prevent this disease from spreading. A day or month is not sufficient in battling this condition.

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