HIV :: National Coalition of Pastors’ spouses call for routine HIV testing

In observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, 2007, Vivian Berryhill, president of the National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses, issued the following statement urging women of all ages to be routinely tested for HIV:

“As we observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is my hope that we become better educated on how HIV/AIDS is affecting women across this country. More and more women are infected each day, and we must do something to stop the spread of this devastating disease.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses.

“Additionally, minority women are most impacted by the disease. According to the CDC, in 2002 HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death for African American women 25-34 years old and the fourth leading cause of death for Hispanic women ages 35-44.

“All women, regardless of age, ethnicity or geographic location, must be tested for HIV and should continue to be tested on a routine basis. Almost one quarter of those Americans infected with HIV are unaware of their infection.

“Early HIV/AIDS detection and diagnosis is critical in preventing the spread of the disease and must become a part of routine medical care. Testing ensures that individuals infected with HIV know their status, can be provided life saving medical treatment and will be less likely to infect others.

“In 2002, cancer and heart disease were the only diseases that caused more deaths among women than HIV/AIDS. Testing and early diagnosis is crucial to eliminating this deadly disease.”

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