HIV and the Impact On Young Women

“In sub-Saharan Africa, there are twice as many HIV infections among 15-24-year-old girls and young women as boys and men in the same age group. In the hardest-hit countries, there are six times more.

Harmful gender norms, discrimination, violence, limited access to education and employment, and a lack of tailored services inhibit women’s and girls’ access to health care and fuel new infections. “

Source: The Global Fund

Educating Girls To Fight HIV Women and Girls- A variety of articles about what is being done to address gender inequality across the globe.

Facts and figures: HIV and AIDS


Prevalence and New Infections

  • Globally, in 2016 there were an estimated 17.8 million women living with HIV (15 and older), constituting 52 per cent of all adults living with HIV [1].
  • Young women and adolescent girls aged 15-24 are particularly affected. Globally, in 2016 there were an estimated 2.4 million adolescent girls and young women living with HIV, that constitute 61 per cent of all young people living with HIV (15-24) [2].
  • In 2016, of the total estimated 1.7 million new HIV infections among adults (15 and older) globally, 790,000 or 48 per cent were among women [3].
  • 59 per cent of new HIV infections among young persons aged 15-24 in 2016 occurred among adolescent girls and young women [4].
  • There are significant regional differences in both the new HIV infections among women and in the proportion of women living with HIV (15 and older) as opposed to men, and the gaps are even more notable among young women (aged 15-24) versus young men:
    • In sub-Saharan Africa, women comprised 56 per cent of new infections among adults (15 and older); and the proportion was higher among young women aged 15-24, who made up 67 per cent of new infections among young people.
    • In the Caribbean, women represented 45 per cent of newly infected adults; while young women aged 15-24 made up 52 per cent of new infections.
    • In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, women accounted for 42 per cent of new HIV infections; however, among young women aged 15-24, the numbers reached a staggering 57 per cent of new infections.
    • In the Middle East and North Africa, women comprised 38 per cent of newly infected adults; whereas young women aged 15-24 made up 49 per cent of new infections.
    • In Latin America, women represented 28 per cent of those newly infected; while young women aged 15-24 made up 36 per cent of new infections.
    • In Asia-Pacific, women accounted for 31 per cent of new infections; as the numbers reached 39 per cent among young women aged 15-24.
    • In Western and Central Europe and North America, women comprise 23 per cent of new infections; while the numbers were higher for young women aged 15-24, with 31 per cent of new infections. [5]
  • Specific groups of women are disproportionately affected by HIV. An analysis of studies measuring the pooled prevalence of HIV in 50 countries estimated that, globally, female sex workers are approximately 14 times more likely to be infected than other women of reproductive age [6].
  • Based on data reported by 30 countries, the pooled HIV prevalence among women who inject drugs was 13 per cent compared with 9 per cent among men who inject drugs [7].

Factors that fuel HIV

  • Violence against women and girls increases their risk of acquiring HIV. [8] A study in South Africa found that the association of intimate partner violence and HIV was stronger in the presence of controlling behaviour and high HIV prevalence. [9]
  • In some settings up to 45 per cent of adolescent girls report that their first sexual experience was forced. [10]
  • Worldwide more than 700 million women alive today were married before their eighteenth birthday. [11] They often have limited access to prevention information and limited power to protect themselves from HIV infection.
  • Globally, only 3 in every 10 adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years have comprehensive and accurate knowledge about HIV. [12] The lack of information on HIV prevention and the power to use this information in sexual relationships, including in the context of marriage, undermines women’s ability to negotiate condom use and engage in safer sex practices.
  • Women living with HIV are more likely to experience violence, [13] including violations of their sexual and reproductive rights. [14] Involuntary and coerced sterilization and forced abortion among women living with HIV has been reported in at least 14 countries worldwide. [15]
  • Women’s access to property and inheritance rights can be critical in preventing HIV. A baseline study conducted in nine countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) found that stigma associated with HIV-positive status was a significant deterrent to reporting or pursuing property and inheritance rights violations. [16]
  • Legal norms directly affect women’s risk of acquiring HIV. [17] In many countries where women are most at risk, laws to protect them are weak [18]. A lack of legal rights reinforces the subordinate status of women, especially in relation to women’s rights to divorce, to own and inherit property, to enter into contracts, to sue and testify in court, to consent to medical treatment and to open a bank account. [19]
  • Discriminatory criminalization laws linked to HIV can disproportionately affect women, as they are more likely to be tested and know their status through antenatal care. [20] HIV-positive mothers are criminals under all of the HIV laws of West and Central Africa, which explicitly or implicitly forbid them from being pregnant or breastfeeding, lest they transmit the virus to the fetus or child. [21]


HIV and AIDS in Africa Youtube Playlist

Collection of short films that will give a good overview of the current situation and what is being done in terms of prevention and treatment.