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Women, No. 1 Target Of Hiv.


New Member
Nov 10, 2004
Women are becoming the number one targets of HIV and Aids and need special protection, a leading expert has claimed.

The virus is now spreading faster in women than in any other group, says US Professor of Infectious Diseases Thomas Quinn.

He is calling for a global strategy specifically aimed at fighting the pandemic in women.

Very few women were affected by HIV when it first emerged in the early 1980s. In developed countries at that time, men accounted for 90% of people living with the virus, or suffering from Aids.

But a dramatic change has occurred in the past 20 years, said Professor Quinn, from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland.

For both biological and cultural reasons, women infected through sexual contact were now more likely to become HIV positive than men or injecting drug users.

Professor Quinn, from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland, has been on the front line of the battle with HIV/Aids.

He and his team led clinical trials of the first effective treatments to prevent the virus replicating, have helped establish laboratory and treatment facilities in Africa and India, and advised governments about control strategies.

Writing in the on-line edition of the journal Science, Professor Quinn said: “Women make up nearly half of the 40 million people worldwide currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids, and in some developing countries, women represent the vast majority of those living with HIV/Aids.

“HIV/Aids first targeted gay men and haemophiliacs in the early 1980s, then subsequently spread most quickly among intravenous drug users and heterosexuals. Now, it is having the most profound impact on women.”

In the United States the annual increase in the number of Aids cases rose by 15% overall from 1999 to 2003, but only by 1% in men.

Medical research suggested that hormonal and developmental factors placed young women exposed to HIV at greater risk of infection than men.

The virus found it easier to penetrate the immature genital area of young women, said Professor Quinn. Birth control hormones and inflammation caused by sexually transmitted disease also made infection more likely.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of people living with HIV were female, and in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, young women aged 15 to 24 were three to six times more likely to be infected than men.

Women also made up up half the adult population living with the virus in the Caribbean, and a third of those in Latin America.

In the US, 81% of female HIV infections were due to heterosexual transmission, and 16% injected drug use.

The picture was different in the developing world, where heterosexual transmission was responsible for almost all infections among women. Mothers passing the virus onto their babies during childbirth contributed further to its spread.

Link.... http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=4679377