Women are empowered, liberated, strong, eclectic and impressively brilliant.
Today is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). On this nationwide observance, which is themed “Share Knowledge. Take Action” this year, light shines on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, and the stigma associated with the disease.
Every 47 minutes in the United States, a woman will be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. That is our cause and the Rock the Red Pump® campaign is how we take action.
We urge women and girls to continue the conversation with friends, family an peers about the epidemic and its effect on women. Join us by “Rocking the Red Pump” and together we can:
- Encourage women and girls to get tested and know their status
- Help decrease the number of women who are HIV-positive
- Increase awareness of safe practices to prevent HIV infection
- Help people become aware of the levels of care and treatment
To further commemorate this monumental day, I asked 10 women to answer one question, “What does HIV/AIDS mean to you?” The responses were overwhelming and a true delight to read, which are provided below for you to enjoy:
“When I think of HIV/AIDS, I think of the friends and family members I have lost from the virus. I am also reminded of the millions of people who deal with this on a daily basis. I hate the discrimination and stigma that is put on these individuals and I pray they find a cure for AIDS in the near future.” – Talaina, 48
“Many people of my generation take the seriousness of HIV/AIDS too lightly, and most people don’t think it can happen to them. A one minute thrill can change your life forever.” – India, 26
“National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day falls on my birthday. As such, I am reminded of my beautiful mother whose country has struggled with this pandemic for years. However, South Africa remains a pioneer in change, reconciliation, and love in our global community. I am proud to be a South African woman!” – Kagiso, 28
“What HIV/AIDS mean to me is simply STRENGTH! Those who are in the fight to educate, to live and survive exemplify great strength. You have to have strength to make it from day to day and to fight against stereotypes, negativity, death, and defeat. Keep fighting, keep educating and keep the strength.” – Natasha, 31
“HIV/AIDS to me is very personal. I was sexually assaulted by a family member who knowingly was HIV positive. I was so young, and afraid to talk to my family and afraid of the judgment. I spent a lot of time unsure about my status and I did not get tested until I was 16! Although I am HIV/AIDS negative I still think about that dark place I was in. It is so much better to get tested and know your status than spend a life time wondering and hoping it will go away.” – Jessica, 24
“AIDS is a pandemic that has taken over our communities and as women we need to make sure that we protect ourselves and our children. It is important to raise awareness and to teach our youth to use protection and get tested.” – Brittany, 25
“Many thoughts come to mind when thinking about the epidemic that over time has crippled the two places that I hold dear; Africa, the Motherland the land of my people; and America, the land in which I call home. The fact that HIV/AIDS disproportionately and negatively impacts Black women brings thoughts of both fear and compassion. In order to change the narrative globally, we must advocate for each other and ourselves.” – Brittany, 29
“HIV not only means human immunodeficiency virus that we all know so well. It means taking control of you and your partner’s sex life from the moment you both decide to participate in intercourse or any other sexual activities.” – Jasma, 26
With every word, the true meaning of what HIV/AIDS means to women of all creeds boldly creates a movement toward a conversation, discussion and total expression. If you would like to continue this conversation with us:
Here’s 5 ways you can #RocktheRedPump for NWGHAAD!
- Register your website here and download one of five custom badges to display on your page.
- Follow us on Facebook for shareable image cards and cover photos that you can share or download to post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
- Participate in #RockTheRedPump Twitter chats throughout the month of March
- Wear red pumps (or other red shoes) on March 10 and upload photos to The Red Pump Project Facebook page.
- Join the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) on March 10, from 1 PM – 2 PM CDT, for the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day webinar, “Ongoing Care and Treatment: Women with HIV/AIDS.”
Do you have questions about the campaign? This FAQ sheet should help. Whether you are a first-time participant or an “old” pro, we thank you in advance for supporting this movement!
Veronica Appleton is a healthcare marketing professional and contributing writer for the Red Pump Project in Chicago, Ill. Visit Veronica’s website, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn for more information.