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Over three billion women
worldwide are HIV-negative.
They have the right to stay negative.
Globally half of the people living with HIV and AIDS are
female. Biologically, women are more likely than men to acquire HIV. Gender
inequalities and human rights violations heighten girls' and women's
vulnerability. Investing in comprehensive HIV prevention for women and girls is
also an investment in the health and well-being of boys and men and of
For everyone, safer sex requires:
Respect for the mutual consent of partners and their
right to say no;
Zero coercion and violence;
Access to female and male condoms and information on
using them; and
Knowledge of one's own and one's partner's sexual
health, including HIV status.
PROVIDE SEXUALITY EDUCATION
TO ALL YOUNG PEOPLE
Comprehensive sexuality education in schools, beginning in
the primary grades, provides young people with HIV prevention information and
supports them to:
Build equality in relationships and in society;
Respect individuals' rights to consent to or refuse
sex and marriage;
Practice safer sex and end sexual coercion and
Accept diversity of sexual orientation and HIV
ENCOURAGE HIV COUNSELING,
TESTING, AND TREATMENT
Knowing one's own and one's partner(s)' HIV status is an
essential step towards preventing HIV infections. All individuals and, when
desired, couples should have access to confidential HIV counseling and testing
as well as treatment. Testing should be based on informed consent. Individuals
should be supported in disclosing their HIV status, and all segments of society
and institutions should eliminate stigma and discrimination based on HIV
PUT THE POWER OF PREVENTION
IN WOMEN'S HANDS
one female condom is distributed for every 700 male condoms. Additional
programmatic and budgetary investments are needed to distribute female condoms
much more widely and to teach women how to use both male and female condoms.
Research on new methods of woman-initiated prevention, such as microbicides, and
monitoring the impact of prevention approaches, such as adult male circumcision,
must continue. Further research is needed on how to support couples' rights to
have children when one partner is HIV-positive.
INVEST IN SEXUAL AND
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES
New infections in women and young people are growing
rapidly, primarily through heterosexual sex. These two groups can be most
effectively reached through comprehensive reproductive health services
(contraception, abortion, pregnancy and delivery care, and screening and
treatment of sexually transmitted infections). HIV-earmarked funds should be
invested to expand access to these services and enhance the provision of HIV
counseling and testing; treatment, care, and support; and referral. In addition,
services should build capacity to:
Teach women and couples how to minimize the risk of
HIV infection when trying to get pregnant;
Screen for violence against women and provide care,
including post-exposure prophylaxis; and
Provide reproductive health services to women living
HIV PREVENTION REQUIRES
PROTECTION OF WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS
End violence against women and girls.
End stigma and discrimination against people living
with HIV and AIDS.
Promote women's equality. Women should have rights to
own and inherit property; equal opportunity in employment, education, and
politics; and full equality under the law.
grateful to reviewers Jane Galvão and Prudence Mabele.