Women are increasingly
vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
of the 40 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are
female, up from 41% in 1997 and 35% in 1985.,
sub-Saharan Africa, 59% of PLWHA are female, and the number of women
living with HIV increased by 1 million between 2003 and 2005.,
the Caribbean 51% of PLWHA are women, up from
30% in 1999. ,
is the leading cause of death for women in Honduras.
India, 39% of PLWHA are women.
China, women constituted 39% of reported
HIV cases in 2004, up from 25% two years earlier.
the U.S., the number of women living with
HIV/AIDS increased 15% between 1999 and 2003, compared with 1% in
American women are 12 times more likely to be infected with HIV than
white women and AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American
women aged 25 to 34.
Russia in 2004, 38% of known PLWHA were
women—a larger share than ever before.
people, especially young women, are disproportionately at risk.
people (aged 15-24) accounted for 40% of the 4.1 million new HIV infections
women account for 62% of PLWHA who are between the ages of 15 and
peak age for HIV prevalence among women is around 25—ten to 15 years
younger than the peak age for men.
sub-Saharan Africa, 76% of HIV-positive young people
South Asia, 62% are female.8 In India, the number of young women living
with HIV/AIDS is twice that of young men.
prevalence among girls under 18 is four to seven times higher than
among boys in many countries of eastern and southern Africa.
Uganda, the risk of HIV infection doubles
for girls 15-19 who have male partners ten or more years older.
teens 13-19 in the United
account for over 50% of new HIV infections.
and girls do not have access to comprehensive information and services.
26% of girls 10-19 in Somalia have heard of AIDS, and only
1% know how to protect themselves from the virus.8
Bangladesh, less than 20% of married women
have heard of AIDS.
India, if AIDS education is even offered
in schools, it is to young people 15 and older. Yet 42% of boys
and 69% of girls 15-17 are not in school.
- One in four young
South Africans believe that sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS.
biggest HIV/AIDS risk for many women and girls is marriage.
than four-fifths of new infections in women result from sex with their
husband or primary partners.
least 50% of Senegalese women living with HIV/AIDS have only one risk
factor: living in a monogamous union.
India, 27% of male clients of male
sex workers are married or living with a female partner.
Mexico, over 30% of women discover their
HIV status after their husbands are diagnosed.
Sexual coercion and
violence lead to a greater chance of infection.
in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise
abused in her lifetime.
violence or rejection, 58% of African girls avoid discussing condom
use with their partners.14 Yet in couples where only one partner is infected
with HIV, consistent and correct condom use provides the HIV negative
person with a near zero risk of infection.
in South Africa who are in relationships with violent or domineering
men are 50% more likely to contract HIV than women not involved in
study among high school students in Swaziland found that almost one in five of the sexually active
female students’ first sexual experience had been coerced.
South Africa, 30% of girls say their first intercourse was forced,
and 71% have experienced sex against their will.
 UNAIDS, AIDS Epidemic Update 2005: December 2005.
 UNFPA/UNAIDS/UNIFEM, “Women and AIDS: Confronting the
 UNAIDS, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic: June
 Pan-American Health Organization, “The UNGASS, Gender
and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean,”
Washington, D.C.: December 2002.
 Kaiser Family Foundation, “HIV/AIDS in India,” September
 Quinn, Thomas C. and Overbaugh, Julie. “HIV/AIDS in
Women: An Expanding Epidemic.” Science, June 10, 2005.
 UNAIDS, AIDS Epidemic Update 2004: December 2004.
 UNFPA, “State of World Population: Investing in
Adolescents’ Health and Rights,” 2003.
 Human Rights Watch, “Policy Paralysis: A Call for Action
on HIV/AIDS-Related Human Rights Abuses Against Women and Girls in Africa,”
 International Center for Research on Women, “Cross
Generational Sex Fueling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa,” August 2003.
 Kaiser Family Foundation, “The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in
the United States,” February 2006.
 UNAIDS, 2004 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic: July
 UNICEF/UNAIDS/WHO, “Young People and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity
in Crisis,” June 2002.
 Lovelife, 200, from Vetten L and Bhanna K, “A Preliminary
Investigation into the Links Between Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS
in South Africa,” November 2003.
 UNFPA, “State of World Population: The Promise
of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the MDGs,” 2005.
 UNAIDS, “Gender and HIV/AIDS: Taking stock of research
and programmes,” 1999.
 UNIFEM, “Women’s Human Rights: Gender and HIV/AIDS,”
 UNIFEM, “Not a Minute More: Ending Violence Against
Women,” November 2003.
 Women’s Coalition for ICPD, “Condoms and Disease Prevention,”
 Kristin L. Dunkle et al, “Gender-based Violence, Relationship
Power and Risk of HIV Infection in Women Attending Antenatal Clinics
in South Africa,” Lancet, May 1, 2004
Prepared by the International Women’s Health Coalition,
last updated June 8, 2006. For more information, contact Cami Hilsendager,
Communications Assistant, at 212-979-8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.