Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is an annual, nationwide observance that reminds us all of the impact HIV and AIDS continue to have on women and girls.
If you are feeling uncomfortable and have not engaged your daughter in a conversation about sex or drugs, this may be a great month to do so. As parents and mentors, we are faced with how to best approach the subject and begin the conversation. First and foremost, we need to educate ourselves on the virus and syndrome so that we remain current and available to offer any support our girls may need.
For example, did you know that about one in four Americans living with HIV are women 13 or older? In addition to this statistic, about 50 percent of women living with HIV are getting care and only four in 10 of them are managing the virus with the help of effective medication and treatment. Talk with your daughter not only about the decision she will make as to whether or not to be sexually active, but also about HIV and AIDS in particular. They are not just acquired through sexual activities, but also through use of intravenous drugs, so your conversation should also address drug use.
HIV and AIDS can be confusing, but an ongoing conversation is necessary so that she can learn how to stay safe and healthy. Perhaps you and your daughter can research the subject together and make it a mother-daughter project. Either separately or together gather information from credible sources, like AIDS.gov. Come together with your findings and launch a social media campaign this month to encourage the conversation between your parent and her friend communities. Make it an annual event and continue the discussion throughout the year.
This year marks the 10th observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It is key that all women, young and older, learn and share this information with one another both in advocacy and support. Creating an open environment—and one that is free of judgment—for an honest and informative exchange of experiences is critical to preventing future generations from contracting HIV and AIDS.
Join the conversation today on social media by searching and using #NWGHAAD.