Author/Editor(s): Ann Erb-Leoncavallo (UNFPA), Gillian Holmes (UNAIDS), Gloria Jacobs, Stephanie Urdang (UNIFEM), Joann Vanek, Micol Zarb (UNFPA)
Today women account for nearly half the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, 57 per cent of adults with HIV are women, and young women aged 15 to 24 are more than three times as likely to be infected as young men. Ironically, women are less educated than men about HIV/AIDS and what little they do know is often rendered useless by the discrimination and violence they confront.
"Women and HIV/AIDS: Confronting the Crisis", a UNIFEM, UNFPA and UNAIDS collaboration, concludes that women are bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and that strategies to reverse it cannot succeed unless women and girls are empowered to reclaim their rights. Gender inequality must be confronted to deal successfully with the AIDS pandemic.
Women in many of the regions most affected with HIV/AIDS have little or no education and have not received basic information concerning their health. In Botswana and Swaziland 40 per cent of pregnant women are HIV-positive. These are a few examples of case studies that this report describes. It documents the latest information on the current HIV/AIDS pandemic, the devastating and often invisible impact of AIDS on women and girls and highlights the ways discrimination, poverty and gender-based violence help fuel the epidemic. Most importantly, the report targets the strategies to reverse the trends.