The Minnesota Department of Health says women have gone from being about 2 percent of Minnesota HIV cases in 1985 to 25 of the state's cases in 2011.
With nearly 1,700 women living with HIV in Minnesota, the state is hoping to raise awareness through the eighth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Sunday, said Kris Ehresmann, the Department of Health director for infectious disease.
"Women are increasingly affected by HIV, and we want to make sure that they're aware of that and that they're getting tested," Ehresmann said. "Because one of the challenges is that there are individuals who are infected and aren't aware of it. And we know that getting into treatment early makes a huge difference both for the individual and for reducing transmission of disease."
Ehresmann said minority women are at particular risk for HIV in Minnesota, adding that women can take action in several ways.
"Get tested for HIV," she said. "Practice safe methods to prevent HIV -- condoms are an excellent method. Decide not to engage in high-risk behavior, either IV drug use or sexual activity -- decide to wait. Talk about HIV prevention with family and friends. Get those conversations going."
The Department of Health's website has a list of clinics where low-income women can receive free HIV testing.