Lancet Proposes New Statement on Leading Causes of Death in Women

Instead of stating that worldwide "HIV is the leading cause of death and disease in women of reproductive age," as was reported in a 2009 WHO report, a Lancet Comment proposes this: "Globally, failure to provide women with high-quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, combined with factors that prevent them from negotiating protection from HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and unwanted sex, are the leading causes of death and disease in women of reproductive age." The proposed statement provides "an accurate story and could certainly lead to effective action. That is, strategic investment in education and health systems to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services to all; empowerment of girls and women to negotiate safe sex, and demand and use high-quality health services; and protection of women's sexual and reproductive rights and health," according to the piece (Germain/Dixon-Mueller, 5/8).

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