Tuesday, March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an annual day that highlights the struggles and stories of women who have been fighting HIV/AIDS, whether in the U.S. where treatment is accessible and effective, or in remote areas of third-world countries, where stigma and lack of proper health care reign.

Since 2006, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day has strived to educate people around the world about the specific plights women with HIV face on a daily basis, from prejudice to violence and lack of care. In many cases, women who are victims of rape or domestic violence often have no choice in whether or not they will use protection during sex, and thus are unable to protect themselves from HIV or other STD transmission.

Though the AIDS stigma has decreased since its peak in the 80s and 90s, in most parts of the world, HIV-infected people — particularly gays and women — are still looked down upon and treated with prejudice. This makes it more difficult for them to seek treatment, find support, and cope with the disease. According to WomensHealth.gov, up to one in four women postpone medical treatment because they fear the threat of partner violence, or because they face obstacles like family or depression.

“People may be afraid that they will be perceived as being gay, promiscuous, a sex worker, or drug user if it is revealed that they are HIV positive,” Laurel Sprague, research director of advocacy group Sero Project, said last year.

Women with HIV also carry the extra burden of potentially transmitting the disease to future children, even if it wasn’t their fault they became infected. According to WomensHealth.gov, other obstacles specific to women include not having the same access as men to health care resources, as well as being in abusive relationships — with partners that have violent reactions — that make them fearful of telling the truth.

Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act provides more coverage to people living with HIV/AIDS — as well as people who are at the highest risk, particularly low-income people.