Wednesday, March 10, marks the fifth annual Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, coordinated by the Office on Women’s Health to educate women and girls about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing. A woman tests positive every 35 minutes in the United States, and 50 percent of the estimated 33.4 million people living with the virus worldwide are women.

“HIV/AIDS poses a threat to the health of women and girls nationally and globally. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) is committed to supporting research to develop HIV prevention tools that women and girls can control and to providing HIV prevention and care to the most vulnerable members of this group,” Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of NIAID, said in a statement. “I encourage women and adolescent girls to take advantage of routine HIV testing and, if infected, to start treatment as early as their doctors recommend.”

Fauci added, “The observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day marks an opportunity for all of us to consider what we can do to curb the spread of HIV among women and teenage girls, whether that means ourselves or female partners, relatives and friends.”