The U.S. Office of Women's Health on March 10 sponsored the first National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, aimed at increasing focus on the disease's growing impact on women both at home and abroad. In the United States alone the AIDS rate among women more than tripled between 1985 and 2004.
'We need new ways of thinking' in fighting HIV's spread among women, says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 'Women must be empowered so that they can exert control over their own lives, particularly in their sexual relations.' This includes increased educational and employment opportunities, gender-based AIDS education, and campaigns to fight the harmful effects of inequality in gender relations.