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Fact of the week



2 of 3: The proportion of young women in 24 sub-Saharan countries who lack HIV/AIDS prevention knowledge

Millennium Development Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Target: Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

By 2005, nearly half of the 39 million people living with HIV were women. In parts of Africa and the Caribbean, young women (aged 15–24) are up to six times more likely to be infected than young men their age. Women are at greater risk of contracting HIV than men. One important explanation is physiological – women are at least twice as likely as men to become infected with HIV during sex. The other crucial, and largely reversible, factor is social – gender discrimination denies women the negotiating power they need to reduce their risk of infection. High rates of illiteracy among women prevent them from knowing about the risks of HIV infection and possible protection strategies. A survey of 24 sub-Saharan African countries reveals that two thirds or more of young women lack comprehensive knowledge of HIV transmission.

Source: UNICEF, The State of The World’s Children 2007, New York, 2006.




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