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May 6, 2011

NNEDV is joining the Office of Women's Health within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in celebrating National Women's Health Week. The week is observed from Mother's Day to May 14.  National Women's Health Week is a nationwide initiative that calls attention to the importance of women's health. The theme for National Women's Health Week is "It's Your Time," encouraging women to take action to live healthier lives.

"Some of the greatest threats to women's health include domestic and sexual violence," said Sue Else, president of NNEDV. "As we recognize National Women's Health Week, I urge communities to support organizations working to protect women's health and well-being."

In addition to the immediate trauma caused by abuse, domestic violence contributes to a number of health problems, including arthritis, chronic neck or back pain, vision problems, sexually transmitted infections, chronic pelvic pain, stomach ulcers, depression, and alcohol and substance abuse. In addition, domestic violence often limits the ability of women to manage other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. Abused women have a 50 to 70 percent increase in gynecological, central nervous system and stress-related problems years after they are abused.

Hospitals and health clinics can play a key early intervention role for victims of domestic and sexual violence. When health care professionals recognize the signs of abuse, they can connect survivors with local resources and victim advocates.

During the National Women's Health Month, families, health organizations, businesses, communities, the government and individuals will come together to raise awareness of women's health issues and educate women about steps they can take to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

For more information about National Women's Health Week, please visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw .