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Cases of HIV/AIDS in women on the rise

Local organization working on education and prevention

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Southern Colorado AIDS Project (S-CAP) is working on educating women about the risks of HIV and AIDS, days ahead of the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

According to S-CAP, there are 11,700 people in Colorado living with HIV/AIDS, and 1,300 of them are women and girls. There were recent cases of 12 and 14-year-old girls infected with the virus.

"It's tragic because I think we have opportunity, we have education," S-CAP Executive Director Richard Blair. "I think part of it is that people don't feel they're at risk because for years we've stereotyped who is impacted by this disease."

Experts say there's no one group of people more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS.

"HIV doesn't discriminate," Dr. Betsy Kleiner, an infectious disease specialist, said. "It affects men, women, the young, the old, people that are single, married, divorced."

In recent years, there have been more cases of women, including married women, with HIV/AIDS.

"Many women don't realize that they're at risk because they attribute HIV to those people that have high-risk behaviors such as IV drug abuse, but really, anyone's at risk," Kleiner said. "Anyone that's having sex is at risk."

Kleiner said many don't realize they're spreading the virus. So education, prevention, and getting tested are key.

S-CAP will host a luncheon Friday, March 8 to educate women. HIV/AIDS activist Penny DeNoble will be there to share her story. For more information on the luncheon and other S-CAP services, click here.

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