Too often, it is when women show up for prenatal exams that they discover they are HIV positive, or sick with full-blown AIDS. Even more common, the women are black or Hispanic, and in long-term relationships they believed were monogamous.
Their risk factor for contracting the virus that causes AIDS? Being an adult and being a woman of color.
Last year in North Carolina, 80 percent of HIV cases diagnosed in women were among blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. While men, particularly African-American men, still account for the largest number of HIV/AIDS cases, an often hidden epidemic is taking place among women.
"We are losing the war against AIDS," said Dr. Steve Cline, deputy state health director. "We're losing it not just as a nation, but also losing it as a region. The South is disproportionately hit."
Cline addressed advocates, care providers and HIV patients Tuesday to help launch a Web page designed to reach Southern women infected with HIV/AIDS. It features video testimony of 30 women, including several from the Triangle, who have been diagnosed with HIV or are working to combat the disease. (more…)