Based on a survey we just conducted at the MAC AIDS Fund, nearly 75 percent of American women do not know their HIV status and do not think they need to. This is a deadly misconception. The number of women living with HIV and AIDS in the US has tripled since 1985 and AIDS is the leading killer of black women between 18 and 34 in this country.
So why are women at increasing risk? First, too few women and men know their status. Second, more women and men have multiple sexual partners than they or we'd like to admit. Indeed, in a nation that is fascinated with the infidelity of sports stars, politicians and celebrities, we have failed to incorporate the reality of "concurrent relationships" into our personal sex lives and our public health strategies. Just as we have done with the use of seat belts and enforcement of speed limits, we need to mainstream and normalize HIV testing and prevention. Strap on, save a life -- seems pretty straight forward to me.
Today, we launched a new campaign to drive awareness about women's risk of getting HIV and to fund effective programs to help prevent HIV infection. In total, more than $2.5 million will go toward model programs that address the vulnerabilities and inequities that place women at increased risk for HIV/AIDS.
As you may have heard, we enlisted the help of Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper to literally and figuratively grab the microphone and use their powerful and unique voices to call attention to this crisis.
What can you do to help? Get tested. Know your status. Practice safe sex. Buy a VIVA GLAM lipstick.
Every last cent from the sale of the $14 lipstick goes towards the cause -- helping women, men, and kids across the globe win the fight against AIDS.