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U.S. News

HIV Prevalence Among U.S. Women Increasing Faster Than in Any Other Country, UNIFEM Report Says

July 9, 2004

The proportion of total HIV cases attributed to women in the United States is increasing faster than in any other country, which is part of the "feminization" of the epidemic throughout the world, according to a report released on Friday by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. Women comprise 48% of the total number of HIV-positive adults worldwide and the proportion is rising, according to the report. The overall HIV/AIDS prevalence in the United States is 0.6%, which is significantly lower than the HIV/AIDS prevalence rates of some sub-Saharan African countries, where almost 60% of HIV-positive people are women, the report says, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. UNIFEM adviser Stephanie Urdang said that the U.S. epidemic was thought to be under control because of the availability of antiretroviral drug treatment. However, the report says that U.S. women accounted for 25% of the total number of HIV cases in the country in 2003, compared to 20% in 2001. In addition, the number of HIV/AIDS cases among U.S. women increased from 180,000 in 2001 to 240,000 in 2003. Urdang said, "A one-third rise is very dramatic." In the United States, the most dramatic increases in HIV prevalence have been among black and Latino women -- who comprise 25% of the country's female population but account for 80% of all reported HIV/AIDS cases in the country, according to the report (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/9). UNIFEM is set to present the report -- which calls for increased political commitment, funding and "collective leadership" aimed at gender issues in countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic -- at the XV International AIDS Conference to be held July 11-16 in Bangkok, Thailand (Dow Jones International, 7/9).

Sexuality
Urdang said that the high level of sexuality in U.S. popular culture is "having an enormous impact on young people and their minds. Among young people in America, there is a feeling that sex is cool, that it's okay to be growing up and to be sexually experienced." Also contributing to the increase is the belief of some young people in the United States that HIV is "easily treatable" and that the disease mainly affects high-risk groups, including men who have sex with men and injection drug users, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. In the report, UNIFEM said that the U.S. education system has not informed young people about prevention, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. Urdang said, "When education is based solely on abstinence, that's all people get. Then in the heat of the moment, ... they have no knowledge of how to deal with the moment," adding, "Women are biologically and socially more vulnerable than men." Urdang said, "If women were able to negotiate safe sex we would have disease and not a raging epidemic" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/9).

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Asia Pacific" on Friday included an interview with Amy Clecker of the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, a women's shelter in Thailand, and Lucita Lazo, regional director of UNIFEM, about the increase in monogamous, married Asian women with HIV/AIDS (Ng, "Asia Pacific," ABC, 7/9). The complete transcript of the interview is available online. The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.

Back to other news for July 9, 2004


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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