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Women and AIDS: The Ms. Foundation Responds

Sunday December 1, 2019

For 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women's collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger released the following statement on World AIDS Day:

"On World AIDS Day, we unite in our support for those living with HIV, and to honor those we have lost to AIDS.

"In 1996, the Ms. Foundation for Women created the Women and AIDS Fund, the first national fund solely dedicated to supporting community-based advocacy led by and for women living with HIV/AIDS. Women with HIV and AIDS, especially Black and Latinx women, historically have faced unique barriers to care and advocacy. For women living in rural areas and the South, access to medical advances in HIV prevention and treatment is especially limited. For decades, the Ms. Foundation has funded women-led organizations working at the intersection of race, gender, and poverty and HIV treatment, care, and prevention, and our fight continues to this day. The Ms. Foundation continues to support the leadership of grassroots organizations like New Orleans-based Women With a Vision that make sure that services are available to those impacted in safe, non-stigmatizing, gender-sensitive settings.

"There are approximately 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV today, 23% of whom are women. While the number of annual HIV diagnoses among women has declined, the fact remains that women of color, transgender women, and women living in poverty have disproportionately higher rates of HIV diagnoses.

"It's reported that only 16% of domestic funding earmarked for HIV and AIDS currently addresses resources for women. Inadequate funding for women-centered research and care leads to worse health outcomes and continued disparities for those most impacted by the disease. The Ms. Foundation intentionally puts our funding dollars behind organizations led-by and impacting women and girls of color, a demographic that already faces lower quality healthcare, and influences others to do the same.

"The Ms. Foundation for Women and our grantee-partners are committed to providing care, ending the stigma, and lifting up the voices of women who are HIV positive, and will fight until we see the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic."