Today marks the 15th annual National HIV Testing Day, organized by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA). HIV and AIDS prevention advocates encourage routine testing for HIV/AIDS and education programs that teach young people about risky behaviors and methods to prevent contracting the virus.
Recent studies show that the rate of infection among women — particularly Latina and African-American women — is rising at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a 17 percent increase of HIV/AIDS among women from 2001 to 2005. Additionally, HIV/AIDS is now a leading cause of death among African-American women ages 24 to 34, Black AIDS Institute, an advocacy group, reports.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently mandate HIV/AIDS education within public schools. Organizations like NAPWA and the Black AIDS Institute, which launched a campaign this week with black entertainers encouraging over 1 million black Americans to get an HIV test, are committed to supplementing public school education with information online and advertising campaigns.