Women represent half of people around the world who have HIV; about 66% of the 4.8 million HIV-positive individuals between ages 15 and 24 are women. Adolescent girls are particularly at risk in hard-hit areas of the world where sexual violence is frequent and poverty often leads them to leave school and marry as teenagers -- often to much older men.
Geeta Rao Gupta, deputy executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund, said, "These adolescent girls and young women, our sisters and daughters, represent an unfinished agenda in the AIDS response."
In the U.S., 25% of people with HIV are female, and most are black or Hispanic. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday said that gender equity is crucial to protecting women against HIV. In the U.S., the Affordable Care Act should help to improve treatment for uninsured individuals. At the same time, many of the states that have announced they will not participate in the law's Medicaid expansion have high numbers of women with HIV, according to a report from the 30 for 30 Campaign.
Women with HIV who are pregnant receive the most attention worldwide,the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. One of the United Nations' goals is to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission. The number of children born with HIV has steadily declined, with 57% of women with HIV receiving AIDS drugs during pregnancy or while nursing last year, according to the U.N. However, most women stop receiving the drugs once the child has been weaned.
New guidelines from the World Health Organization call for countries to provide treatment that continues for life to all pregnant women with HIV (Neergaard, AP/Sacramento Bee, 7/26).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership