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When it comes to AIDS, they lead
Women have become the worst victims of the AIDS epidemic
The horrifying news of HIV infections taking a front seat in devastating the lives of common people is an old one; the latest disclosure shows that in the most affected areas of the world, like South Africa, the cases of the virus infecting females have been found much more as compared to men. Reports of monitoring organisations indicate that the delicate gender – women – are more susceptible to these infections than their male counterparts; and that figure is increasing.
According to the Global AIDS Epidemic Report, in South Africa, the prevalence of this pernicious virus amongst the 15-24 years age group is 14.8% in women, compared to a mere 4.5% in males; 3.4 million women had the infection in 2005, as compared to 3.2 million in 2003. Moreover, South Africa now has higher maternal orphans – 0.85 million in 2005, up from 0.55 million in 2003 – due to this.
Even across the globe, despite the use of contraceptives, investments for finding cures, campaigns to create awareness remaining on a higher level, women, world over continue to be the worst hit. Developed economies like USA with as many as 0.3 million affected in 2005, too are pretty apprehensive with the mounting attacks of this virus. Sadly, as per the National Family Health Survey, which was supported by UNICEF, in these countries, in rural areas – which accounted for 40% of total infection – a huge 46% of women have never even heard of HIV. Ironically, the UNDP’s pristine Leadership for Transformation anti-AIDS programme, despite recognising the impact, still does not specifically focus on women. Given the proven long term negative impact of this epidemic on the fairer sex, this is the right time for global agencies to initiate specific women focused programmes. The fear is that a few more years of ignoring this threat, and one might not have women to worry about any more...
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