Letter to the Editor: H.I.V. Infections in Women
The New York Times, September 5, 2009
To the Editor:
Re “Hope in South Africa ” (editorial, Aug. 31):
Your suggestions for H.I.V. prevention, and those of some of the
scientists you refer to, show remarkably persistent neglect of the most
likely to be infected: girls and women.
In South Africa, women, especially very young women, are three to five
times more likely to be infected than men because of rampant sexual
coercion and violence. They cannot control the number of partners their
men have and may have more than one themselves just to survive, often
for economic reasons.
Babies are infected because women lack access to the necessary health
services and, more important, H.I.V. prevention in the first place. The
little evidence available on adult male circumcision indicates no
protective effect for men’s partners, and it may, in fact, affect women
A sustainable approach to ending South Africa’s epidemic requires
putting women at the center of H.I.V. prevention efforts by ensuring
access to female condoms, comprehensive sexuality education for all
young people, and full protection of girls’ and women’s human rights.
International Women’s Health Coalition
New York, Aug. 31, 2009
Click here to view the Letter on the New York Times website.