National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with Philadelphia FIGHT

On March 11, 2017, members of Witnesses to Hunger participated in an event hosted by Philadelphia FIGHT, a dynamic health services organization focused on advocacy and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. Some members of Witnesses have experienced the impact of HIV/AIDS in their own lives and wanted to participate to share the mission of their work and expand their network.

There is an important link between poverty and HIV/AIDS.

From “How Poverty Helps Spread HIV“:

“While we found that viral load and adherence to medications were strong predictors of overall health status,” Riley told POZ, “unmet subsistence needs—access to sufficient housing, food, clothing and hygiene needs—had an even stronger influence [on the health of people living with the virus].”

To control the epidemic, Riley says, “We must ensure that stable housing and basic subsistence needs are met for all people with HIV.” It’s also cost-effective, she adds, as “housing assistance for homeless persons with HIV/AIDS reduces the use of costly emergency and inpatient health care services.”

From the Center for Disease Control:

Poverty Is Driving an HIV Epidemic

A newly released study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that poverty may be the most important risk factor for HIV infection among heterosexuals living in urban areas. The research, conducted in 2006 and 2007 in 23 high-poverty neighborhoods, focused exclusively on heterosexuals who do not use intravenous drugs—those who are not considered to be at highest risk of HIV. The result: HIV was detected in 2.4 percent, or 1 in 42 people living below the poverty line in those neighborhoods.

HIV is at epidemic levels in certain poor urban areas across the United States, defined by UNAIDS as a prevalence in the general populations of more than 1 percent. And, perhaps even more significant, poor people living in those cities were twice as likely to be infected as people with incomes above the poverty line in the same neighborhoods. This news is not entirely new, as health officials and others have long believed that poverty is a key driver of HIV. But there have been few, if any, large-scale studies to support this belief until now.

By ending poverty, we can severely reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among marginalized people!

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