Thursday, October 21, 2010

Women & HIV/AIDS

When the HIV/AIDS epidemic started in the United States, it was most abundant in young homosexual males and intravenous drug users. But now women account for a fourth of all the cases reported in the United States. And black women seem to have the most cases of HIV. HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among black women ages 25-34 in 2004. Also, in 2004, HIV/AIDS was the sixth leading cause of death among all women aged 25-34. In the majority of these cases, high risk heterosexual sex was the main cause. Only a small portion was due to intravenous drug use.

Younger age is a risk factor for HIV. The largest number of HIV cases in the past ten years have been women aged 15-39. Being unaware of your partner's risk factors is another. Many women are unaware of their partner's sexual history, especially if their partner is bisexual. This can raise your chances of contracting HIV from your partner. Of course not using protection is an obvious risk factor. Younger women, especially in their teens, are less likely to use protection if their partner is older. Also, women are just more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease because of the way our body is built. Substance abuse is also another risk factor. This does not only apply to intravenous drug use, this applies to all types of drug use. Women are more likely to engage in high risk sexual activity when they are under the influence. With all the risk factors that women can have when it comes to contracting HIV, using protection is the best way to prevent infection.


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