Growing HIV Infection Rate Among Females Is Cause for Grave Concern

March 10, 2009

HIV/AIDS statistics for women and girls are startling.

Nationwide, the percentage of new cases diagnosed among more than doubled between 1990 and 2005 (the most recent year for which data is available), increasing from 11 percent to more than 26 percent.

Women of color continue to be disproportionately affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 126,964 women living in 2005 with /AIDS, 64 percent were black, 15 percent were Hispanic, and one percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. The CDC also notes that AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women ages 25 to 34.

New Jersey has the highest proportion of women among those living with AIDS in the United States and ranks third among the states in cumulative pediatric AIDS cases, according to a report by the state Department of Health and Senior Services.

“The statistics are ominous but we won’t give up the fight against HIV,” said Andrea Norberg, M.S., R.N., interim executive director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center (FXBC) at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). An initiative of the UMDNJ-School of Nursing, the center provides HIV education, prevention, research and treatment services in the U.S. and internationally.

“We’ve seen great progress, especially in preventing mother-to-child transmission and improving quality of life for those infected by HIV,” said Norberg. “However, as the numbers show, we still have a very long way to go in stopping women from getting HIV. Women should take steps to protect themselves, know their status, and seek early treatment if they do become infected.”

Peter Oates, R.N., M.S.N., manager of the center’s health services, works closely with patients at the FXBC clinic at UMDNJ-The University Hospital. In 2008 alone, the clinic served nearly 300 females infected or affected by HIV in the Newark area. That figure includes 27 girls ages two to 12 years; 74 adolescents and young women between the ages of 13 and 24 years; more than 100 women between the ages of 25 and 44 years; and 40 women between the ages of 40 and 64 years. In addition, 45 HIV-exposed infant girls were born to infected mothers and followed by the FXBC last year.

Community outreach is a critical component in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Will an online forum be an effective tool for HIV-infected women to promote healthy living? Pamela Rothpletz-Puglia, Ed.D., R.D., director of nutrition and wellness at the FXBC, and her research team have set out to answer this question through their study comparing the benefits of a custom-built social networking site versus a traditional in-person meeting group for Newark-area women. Results of this study will be used to develop action plans for mobilizing communities to improve women’s health. Study funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Carolyn K. Burr, Ed.D., R.N., senior education specialist at the FXBC, leads efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Burr is working with hospitals across the U.S. to help them incorporate rapid HIV testing as a routine part of care. The CDC-funded effort, which first focused on patients in labor and delivery and then patients in emergency departments, now seeks to implement HIV testing for all hospital inpatients.

Provided by University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Related Stories

Recommended for you

National roll-out of PrEP HIV prevention drug would be cost-effective

October 18, 2017
Providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV infection (equivalent to less than 5% of men who have sex with men at any point in time) in England would be cost-effective, ...

Regulatory T cells harbor HIV/SIV virus during antiviral drug treatment

October 17, 2017
Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have identified an additional part of the HIV reservoir, immune cells that survive and harbor the virus despite long-term treatment with antiviral drugs.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV

October 17, 2017
In findings that open the door to a completely different approach to curing HIV infections, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively ...

Researchers create molecule that could 'kick and kill' HIV

October 5, 2017
Current anti-AIDS drugs are highly effective at making HIV undetectable and allowing people with the virus to live longer, healthier lives. The treatments, a class of medications called antiretroviral therapy, also greatly ...

A sixth of new HIV patients in Europe 50 or older: study

September 27, 2017
People aged 50 and older comprise a growing percentage of HIV patients in Europe, accounting for one in six new cases in 2015, researchers said Wednesday.

Three-in-one antibody protects monkeys from HIV-like virus

September 20, 2017
A three-pronged antibody made in the laboratory protected monkeys from infection with two strains of SHIV, a monkey form of HIV, better than individual natural antibodies from which the engineered antibody is derived, researchers ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.