HIV and Youth - Page 3
In many countries, girls and women have less social status than boys and men. They may be denied the right to go to school or complete their education. They may have little or no choice over who they marry, and may be forced into having sex against their will. When women are not able to control their own bodies or resist pressure to have sex, they are more vulnerable to HIV infection.
For low-income women with little education, job opportunities may be severely limited. For some, prostitution may be the only way they can support themselves and their families. Women who have sexual contact with a number of men are at greater risk of contracting HIV, especially if they are unable to insist that the men use condoms.
In countries that experience war and armed conflict, education and health care systems may be disrupted, depriving citizens of information needed to prevent HIV infection, and treatment for those who are infected.
Prostitution often increases in conflict zones, as other ways of earning a living may not be possible. And rape is often used by occupying forces to dominate or demoralize; this makes the spread of HIV more likely.