Women, Girls, and HIV


Photograph contributed by Aaron Clamage Photography

We cannot put an end to HIV without prioritizing women. Women now account for more than half of the world’s population living with HIV, and HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age (15-44). Women must be at the center of U.S. global HIV policies and programs if the U.S. government intends to sincerely address the HIV epidemic. 

Prioritizing women means that HIV policies and programs are based on women’s health needs and human rights, unfettered by political agendas. HIV interventions must  integrate family planning and other reproductive health services, without exception—family planning and HIV are intrinsically linked. HIV prevention strategies must promote tools women can use to protect themselves, such as female condoms. All women must have access to the tools and services necessary to protect themselves from HIV infection and plan their families. 

It also requires that global HIV interventions are grounded in women’s rights. The HIV pandemic is dependent on the systemic human right violations, such as gender inequality and violence against women, that render women at a disproportionate risk of infection. To end HIV, U.S. global health policy has to address the things that are bigger than HIV. To end HIV, it has to start with women.

Additional resources:
A Woman-centered Approach to the U.S. Global Health Initiative
The U.S. Global Health Initiative and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Integration
Ribbons Without Rights Don't Save Lives

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A woman-centered approach to HIV/AIDS

Can we turn the tide on HIV? Not without women.

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Source60,000The number of maternal deaths attributed to HIV in 2008.

Source52%Women make up approximately 52% of the total global population living with HIV.

Source8In sub-Saharan Africa, women 15-24 years old are 8 times more likely than men to be HIV positive.

Source$15 billionLaunched in 2003 by President George W. Bush, PEPFAR pledged $15 billion over 5 years to combat global HIV/AIDS.

Source$48 billionPEPFAR was reauthorized on July 30, 2008 and authorized $48 billion through fiscal year 2013.

Source7,400Globally, there are 7,400 new HIV infections every day.

Source340 millionEach year there are 340 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Source33.3 millionWorldwide there are approximately 33.3 million people living with HIV.

Source#1Globally, HIV is the leading cause of death and disease in women of reproductive age.

Source15.9 millionOf the 33.3 million adults living with HIV in 2009, 15.9 million were women.

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