Friday , December 3 2021

Defending More Safe Sexuality Not Enough to Prevent HIV Among Women


Senior Health Advisor at Magalie Nelson, Plan International Canada

HIV is on the rise of women in the world. Every week, 7000 women are diagnosed with a positive condition, and in 2016, women accounted for 52 percent of people living with HIV.

While adopting safer sex practices, it remains one of the most common ways to prevent HIV, while the solution is not that simple. As for women, gender inequality and unbalanced power relations are the real driving forces of transmission, which requires that we look at a social woman rather than just a health-based lens.

Gideon Mendel from Getty Images

A training poster defending safe sex practices in a town on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe (such as sticking to a partner and using condoms),

Global HIV trends help to uncover the social, economic and legal consequences of gender inequality and the impact on women's health and welfare.

For example, in Malawi, young women represent one-third of all new HIV cases, representing 70 percent of them. In Zimbabwe, an estimated 740,000 women reported living in 2017 with HIV and met 57 percent of all people living with HIV in the country. Adolescent girls and young women working in the sex work are vulnerable to exposure to HIV, especially gender-related violence and sexual partners.

For many women, negotiating the use of condoms with their sexual partners is not an option.

While many of the debates on the prevention of HIV emphasize the importance of a safer sex, it is not an option for many women to negotiate the use of condoms with their sexual partner. Power struggles, isolation and intimate partner violence play a major role in managing women's sexual relations and managing the risk of contact with HIV. In Zimbabwe, only 69 percent of men believe that if a woman's spouse knows she is having sexual relations with other women, she has the right to refuse sexual intercourse, and that 23 percent of women do not have the right to ask them to use a condom from her partner. He believes. if there is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The threat of violence in consensual relations restricts women from making informed decisions about their sexual lives and experiencing sexual violence, and is denied the right to speak.

Lack of access to information and information about AIDS also puts young women at risk. Globally, only three out of every 10 adolescent girls received comprehensive and accurate information about HIV. Even when resources are available, deep beliefs about sexuality and beliefs on a girl's body prevent many people from looking for the health services they need.


Compulsive gender norms and behaviors are a fundamental method in addressing the rising number of HIV cases among women. This requires us to approach methods of prevention by understanding the unique barriers that young women face in demanding speech and sexual and reproductive rights. By combating gender inequality in society, we can weaken the network of social norms that prevent women from deciding on their own future and managing their fortified lives.

Thirty-five years after HIV was first discovered as the virus that caused AIDS, we still continue to uncover a network of complex risk factors that lead the epidemic. While we continue to understand how the disease works, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent it, we still have a lot to learn about how vulnerable groups like women are uniquely affected. An understanding of the intersection between gender inequality and the systems that provide it will be one of the keys to ending HIV among women.

More from HuffPost Canada

Let us fire a conversation about the strengthening of vulnerable groups exposed to a woman and all HIV in honor of World AIDS Day. Together, we can help build a world in which everyone is free to step boldly from the margins and to expose their potential.

Magalie Nelson is a Senior Health Consultant at Plan International Canada and a Global Fund team.

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