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Remember AIDS? Women & HIV in Minnesota . Lorraine Teel, Executive Director Minnesota AIDS Project . Did you know? . According to the World Health Organization, “ H.I.V. is the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44. “

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remember aids women hiv in minnesota

Remember AIDS? Women & HIV in Minnesota

Lorraine Teel, Executive Director

Minnesota AIDS Project

did you know
Did you know?

According to the World Health Organization,

“H.I.V. is the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44. “

What year was that report released?



Early days of HIV (1981 – 1996)

  • Unknown origin leads to widespread fear / panic
  • Communities most impacted appeared to be gay men, hemophiliacs, blood recipients, injecting drug users … these groups included fewer women. The link between HIV & heterosexual sex would come late
  • AIDS turned into a “political disease” – victims vs. those who “brought it on themselves” (innocent vs. guilty) – Still occurring today.
aids death
AIDS = Death

As a result of this early association those living with HIV still face:

  • Stigma
  • Shame
  • Discrimination
a landmark year 1996
A Landmark Year – 1996
  • 1996 marked the introduction of a new class of drugs that now extends the lives of those living with HIV – NOT a cure, but perceived as such;
  • Our language changed and our attention to AIDS changed:
    • “Drug Cocktail” – no longer a death sentence
    • Not a MN problem – a problem “over there”
    • The “face of AIDS has changed”
despite or because the advances global aids deaths represented proportionately through 2009
Despite (or because?) the Advances: Global AIDS Deaths Represented Proportionately (through 2009)
so where are we today
So Where Are We Today?
  • Over 1,000,000 Americans living with HIV. 25% (estimate) unaware.
  • Estimate of 56,000 Americans infected each year – one person every 8 minutes
  • In MN, new cases in 2009 increased 13%
    • Still 75% male, primarily gay/bi men, disproportionately gay/bi men of color
    • Over the past decade, female cases increased from ~10% to over 25% of new cases
    • 70% - 80% of MN cases in women are in women of color
first the numbers
First…the numbers:


  • 34 million people living with AIDS
  • Over 1 million are Americans
  • 2.7 million new infections annually – 56,000 in America
  • 2 million AIDS deaths per year
  • Since 1981, 25 million have died of AIDS

In Minnesota

  • Over 6,000 Minnesotans known to be living with HIV
  • 75% male, 25% female
  • Of the men, 75% are gay/bi men, disproportionately men of color
  • Of the women, 75% are women of color
why are women at risk
Why Are Women at Risk?
  • Matter of biology
  • Matter of co-morbidity factors common to women across the world:
    • Gender inequality
    • Access to education
    • Economic power (particularly for widows)
    • Putting children / others first
  • HIV-negative women also bear the burden
    • Orphaned children
    • Sick relatives
    • Economic hardships
aids in africa aids in mn
AIDS in Africa : AIDS in MN

How does this play out?

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • 50% of all AIDS cases are women (~17 million)
  • 68% live in Africa
  • 61% of African population are female
  • Worldwide, 98% of women living with AIDS are in Africa
  • 12 million AIDS orphans to date

In 2009, 368 new reports of HIV in MN

  • 73 (20%) women
  • 26% age 24 or younger
  • 4% related to IDU, rest is sexually transmitted or unknown
  • 23% of the living Minnesota cases of HIV are female
    • 30% African born
    • 30% African American
    • 28% White
    • 6% Hispanic, 3% Native
perinatal transmission in mn a success story
Perinatal Transmission in MN – A Success Story
  • The “miracle” of prenatal screening – since 2000, 468 babies born to HIV+ mothers with just over 1% of the infants being HIV+
  • Prior to 1996, 128 babies born of HIV+ mothers and 22% of the infants were HIV+
what drives the hiv epidemic in both the us abroad
What Drives the HIV Epidemic in Both the US & Abroad?

Poverty is both a cause and an effect of HIV and AIDS. The factors that make people vulnerable to poverty and AIDS are similar, and include violations of people’s basic rights to health care, to live free from violence, and to education, among other human rights violations. Racism and other forms of discrimination that deny people their basic rights increase vulnerability to HIV. Gender inequalities and harmful traditions and laws that discriminate against women and young girls make them more likely to be infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

other factors driving new infections
Other Factors Driving New Infections
  • Lack of comprehensive sexual health education, including abstinence as the best choice for young people;
  • Homophobia – leading gay/bi men to lead closeted lives;
  • Access to prophylactics;
  • Lack of a female-controlled means of protection (microbicide)
and for right now here in mn
And for right now, here in MN?
  • The number of Minnesota women living with, and at risk for HIV, continues to grow….
  • Parents need to educate their children … yet we provide them with little to no resources ….
  • We need education about this disease taught in schools, places of worship, workplaces, EVERYWHERE!
hiv aids std sti an alphabet you need to understand
HIV, AIDS, STD, STIAn alphabet you need to understand ….
  • HIV is a sexually transmitted disease
  • HIV is 100% preventable
  • STDs/STIs increase the chances of HIV infection if exposed
  • Geography is not prophylactic
  • In five cities, 46% African American gay/bi men were HIV+ and 67% of them did NOT know
  • HIV is an odds game …. Do you really want to play the odds?