Each year, December 1st is recognized as World AIDS Day. Although the rates of new HIV infections have continued to decline within the United States, HIV and AIDS remains a global public health concern. According to the World Health Organization, 36.7 million people across the world are living with HIV, 47% of whom are women.

Women with HIV may face a host of unique health challenges compared to men. For example, women living with HIV have gynecological issues such as menstrual cycle changes, increased risk of certain sexually transmitted diseases, higher rates of vaginal infections, and early entry into menopause [1]. Also, women infected with HIV are 5 times more likely to develop cervical cancer and require additional screenings [2]. In addition, several anti-retroviral drugs commonly used to treat HIV, such as nevirapine and ritonavir, may cause more adverse drug reactions in women compared to men [1].

To learn more about HIV and AIDS consider visiting the following national and local resources:
Centers for Disease Control
Northwestern Medicine HIV Center
Chicago Department of Public Health – Free STI/HIV/AIDS Testing and Treatment
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Howard Brown Health

References:
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
2. National Cancer Institute

 

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