Policy & Politics
Child Marriage Puts Girls Worldwide at Risk of HIV/AIDS, Early Pregnancy; Ill. Sen. Durbin Drafts Legislation
December 9, 2004
Child marriage -- which affects about 51 million girls in developing countries worldwide -- puts women at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or developing health complications from becoming pregnant at an early age, the Chicago Tribune reports. Girls who are married at a young age and become pregnant before their bodies are prepared to endure pregnancy and delivery may experience obstetric fistula. The condition, caused by ruptured tissue in the birth canal, can lead to continuous and uncontrollable leakage of feces and urine. Girls who develop obstetric fistula often are shunned by their families and communities because of the stigma attached to the condition, according to Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the International Center for Research on Women. About 100,000 new cases of obstetric fistula occur annually among girls, and about two million women worldwide are affected, according to the Tribune. Child marriage also can put young women at risk of contracting HIV. Girls often are married to older men, and the "unequal balance of power" makes young women "less able to negotiate the use of condoms" to protect against infection, according to the Tribune.
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.
More Than 1 Billion Children Worldwide Face "Brutal Existence" Because of HIV/AIDS, Poverty, Conflict, UNICEF Report Says
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.