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Women Don�t Know

Women Don�t Know

The MAC AIDS Fund has launched its latest VIVA GLAM campaign -- a women's initiative aimed at strengthening the service network and resources available to women living with and at risk of contracting HIV.

MAF commissioned nationwide surveys to gauge perceptions of AIDS and its impact on women through the lens of the American consumer and nation's leading experts. This side-by-side comparison was a crucial step in assessing key areas fueling the spread of HIV in women and outlining potential solutions.

As a result of the startling finds, MAF is supporting programs in the United States, Canada, and internationally with a commitment of more than $2.5 million. The campaign, spearheaded by new VIVA GLAM speakers Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper, will issue a call to action for women to take control of their sex lives.

Survey highlights include:

>Seventy-three percent of American women likely don't know their current HIV status.

>Fifty-eight percent of women say they aren't routinely tested for HIV because they either were or are in a monogamous relationship.

>Women are lagging behind men in advocating for their sexual health. It's been three years since the average woman last had an HIV exam, two years since men were last tested.

>Seventy-eight percent of women admit they've engaged in sexual intercourse without a condom primarily because they were in an exclusive relationship.

>According to the experts, women aren't using protection and don't get tested because they still don't see themselves at risk for contracting HIV.

>Just one in every two women believes HIV is a problem that affects women in their community.

>The experts we surveyed point to an issue of gender inequality stating that in relationships, women don't feel powerful enough to fight for their own sexual health.

"The problem is people still see HIV solely as a gay man's disease, but the face of AIDS has changed," said Nancy Mahon, executive director for the MAC AIDS Fund. "Despite the growing number of HIV infections in women, funding, programs and action are not keeping pace. These results reveal a challenge and opportunity to educate and empower women."

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