This was originally posted in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog on December 5, 2012
Gender inequality is HIV’s best friend. Fortunately, the converse is also true – gender equality is HIV’s nemesis. And by fighting HIV through advancement of gender equality, we reap all kinds of additional benefits.
Women account for slightly more than half of all people living with HIV, and the majority contract it through sex with long-term partners. Young women account for nearly 75 percent of infections among people ages 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa. Girls who bear the brunt of two classic symptoms of gender oppression — being married off young or kept out of school — are particularly vulnerable to HIV. Gender violence – whether it’s rape used as a weapon of war, physical violence in the home that takes away women’s power to suggest condom use, or emotional violence that keeps women silent and untreated if they are diagnosed with HIV – is like gasoline to the spread of HIV.
See more here.