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Prevention Challenges
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Women have unique issues and special challenges that make it harder for them to prevent HIV or take care of themselves if they have HIV.

  • Picture of womenWomen can give HIV to their babies. Women who have HIV can give it to their babies during
    • pregnancy
    • delivery
    • breast-feeding
  • Women's bodies are different.
    • A woman is twice as likely as a man to get HIV infection during vaginal sex (because the lining of the vagina provides a large area of potential exposure to HIV-infected semen).
    • Some diseases or disorders unique to women make HIV more serious.
  • Women may lack control in relationships.
    • Scared to say no to sex
    • Scared to insist their partner (husband or boyfriend) use a condom
    • Can’t talk to their partner about
      • abstinence (not having sex)
      • faithfulness (having only one sex partner)
      • using condoms
    • Don’t know if their partner is doing things that put him (and therefore her) at risk for HIV
  • Women may not earn much money, which makes it hard for them to pay doctors or even get a ride to their doctor appointments. In extreme instances, some women even end up trading sex for money or drugs.
  • Women may have to find someone to take care of their children while they go to the doctor.
  • Women may be caregivers for others and not feel they have the time to take care of themselves.
  • Some women are even afraid to tell their doctors they have HIV, fearing they won’t get good treatment.
Last Modified: February 20, 2007
Last Reviewed: February 20, 2007
Content Source:
Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

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