May 31, 2002
Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are more susceptible to HIV infection than men because their partners are often older than they are, said Dr. Simon Gregson from the Imperial College of London. Older men are more likely to have the virus and pass it on to their younger partners, who in turn may infect others when they marry and have children. Gregson and researchers from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS interviewed 10,000 people in Manicaland, a province in eastern Zimbabwe, to assess how the disease is spread. They found that while men under 25 usually had relationships with women their own age or a few years younger, women tended to have partners five to 10 years older than themselves. The results of the research are published in the current issue of Lancet (2002;359;9321:1896-1903).