Women Represent Nearly Half of HIV/AIDS Cases Worldwide; Number of HIV-Positive Women Rising in All Regions, Report Says
November 24, 2004
Nearly half of the 37.2 million HIV-positive adults ages 15 to 49 worldwide are women, and the number of HIV-positive women in all regions of the world has been increasing over the past two years, according to a report released on Tuesday by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization in advance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Reuters/USA Today reports (Reaney, Reuters/USA Today, 11/24). According to the report, titled "AIDS Epidemic Update 2004 (also available in PDF)," the total number of HIV-positive people in the world has risen from 38.1 million in 2003 to 39.4 million in 2004, according to the New York Times (Altman, New York Times, 11/24). More than three million people worldwide have died from AIDS-related illnesses in the past year, according to the Los Angeles Times (Mestel, Los Angeles Times, 11/24). Over the past two years, the number of HIV-positive women in East Asia increased 56%, the largest increase in any region, according to the New York Times. In both Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the number of HIV/AIDS cases among women increased 48%, according to the report. In Africa -- the continent most-heavily affected by the disease -- women represent nearly 60% of HIV-positive people (New York Times, 11/24). In sub-Saharan Africa, where about 70% of the world's HIV-positive people live, about 75% of HIV-positive individuals ages 15 to 24 are women, according to the Boston Globe (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 11/24).
Reasons for Increases Among Women
Putting Women "At the Heart" of Response
However, Stanecki said that although the global HIV/AIDS numbers are "sobering," it is important to note that "there is no single AIDS epidemic; there are many," according to Toronto's Globe and Mail (Globe and Mail, 11/24). Some regions' epidemics still are in the early stages, according to a UNAIDS/WHO release (UNAIDS/WHO release, 11/23). "In some regions, it is mainly injecting drug use that drives it -- that would be true for Eastern Europe and much of East Asia," Peter Ghys, manager of the epidemic and impact monitoring team for UNAIDS, said, adding that the differing epidemics are "stretching resources" and making prevention strategies "tricky to target" (Fak, Financial Times, 11/24). A "common and troubling" challenge is that some countries "often" misdirect resources to fight the epidemics, according to the New York Times. For example, prevention programs might target men who have sex with men and exclude women, or vice versa, or ignore the problem of injection drug use, the New York Times reports (New York Times, 11/24). "These latest trends firmly establish AIDS as a unique development challenge," Piot said, adding, "The time of quick fixes and emergency responses is over. We have to balance the emergency nature of the crisis with the need for sustainable solutions" (UNAIDS/WHO release, 11/23).
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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.