HHS Releases First Report on Health Status of U.S. Women, Including HIV/AIDS InformationHHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Friday released a new statistical report on the health of U.S. women, including factors related to HIV/AIDS (HHS release, 5/31). "Women's Health USA 2002," which uses data compiled through 2000, is the first report of its kind, although it was modeled after "Child Health USA," which has been published annually for 12 years. HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Office on Women's Health compiled the report ("Women's Health USA 2002," 5/31). "For the first time, we're giving people a single place to go to get a comprehensive look at the health status of women across the nation," Thompson said, adding, "It reflects our ongoing commitment not only to identifying trends in women's health but also to taking the right steps to improve their health in the future" (HHS release, 5/31). Some of the report's HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease findings are summarized below:
- As of December 2000, 130,104 AIDS cases among adolescent and adult women had been reported. Most of these cases were among women ages 25 to 44. Among all age groups, AIDS was most prevalent in black women.
- Among the 10,459 AIDS diagnoses in women ages 13 and older in 2000, 38% were due to heterosexual contact. Other exposure categories included injection drug use and undetermined modes of transmission.
- Between 1995 and 2000, the number of AIDS cases among women due to heterosexual exposure decreased by 28% and the number of AIDS cases among women due to injection drug use decreased by 52%.
- Although the proportion of adults tested for HIV between 1997 and 2000 remained "fairly constant," young women were more likely to be tested for HIV than older women in 2000. Approximately 50% of women under age 45 were tested for HIV, compared to 21.6% of women ages 45 to 64 and 6.5% of women over age 65.
- In 1999, chlamydia was the most common sexually transmitted disease, followed by gonorrhea, and infection rates for both diseases have risen since 1996. In addition, women ages 20 to 24 had higher rates of both diseases than women ages 25 to 29. Black women had "much higher" rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis than white or Hispanic women ("Women's Health USA," 5/31).