HIV/AIDS has impacted the African American community in
epidemic proportions. It is the top killer of African
American women and men ages 25 to 44. Black women represent
an overwhelming majority of HIV/AIDS cases, with three out
of four HIV/AIDS cases being women of color.
In addition to shouldering the burden of HIV/AIDS,
Black women are also disproportionately impacted by
unintended pregnancy. The economic hardships and emotional
stress that are often associated with an untimely pregnancy
can impose significant burdens on women and their families.
While unintended pregnancies affect women of all
reproductive ages, socioeconomic and marital status, and all
racial and ethnic groups, they are most likely to occur to
women with the least amount of resources to handle them.
Women must be empowered through alternative technologies
and resources, to be able to protect themselves from disease
and intended pregnancy. Women need effective prevention
methods that can offer both. This potential new technology
is microbicides. While no such product is currently
available, efforts are underway to develop this new,
microbicide is any substance that can substantially
reduce transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
and HIV when applied in either the vagina or the rectum.
could be produced in various forms, including gels,
creams, films, suppositories or vaginal rings that
slowly release the active ingredient over time.
as a form of contraception will give women greater
control of their fertility and increased alternatives
and options for pregnancy prevention.
potentially less effective than the condom, microbicides
will give women who may not have the cooperation from a
male partner, increased opportunities for disease and
are largely dependent on their male partnersí
willingness to use condoms in order to protect
themselves from contracting STIs and HIV.
many Black women, psychological distress, domestic
violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse, poverty and
limited access to health care information and services
can result in increased risks for diseases and
Black Women's Health Project © 2002