Why more women are infected with HIV than men

By AMOS ROBI | Monday, Feb 24th 2020 at 10:12
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A report released by the Kenya Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment on Thursday 20th February indicates that 1.3 million adults in Kenya live with HIV, with men making 3.1% of the population while their female counterparts make up 6.6%. This leaves the obvious question, why more women than men?


With economic times getting tougher and unemployment on the rise, women choose means to fend for themselves and their families that put them at high risk of getting infected with the virus. Transactional sex or commercial sex, as others may put, top the ways through which women easily get infected. Early marriage is another way in which women get infected by HIV. Most cases of early marriages involve men who are polygamous or have been in marriages before, which endangers the young women getting into the marriage then.

2.Lack of access to healthcare services.

Most of the regions where the infections are high, have little development in health systems and especially women's health. Procedures relating to women's sexual and reproductive health, for example, childbirth, are performed by personnel who have little or no understanding of women's reproductive health and its importance while some health centres are not properly equipped to handle women's reproductive health.

3.Lack of education.

Access to quality education has linked women to self-dependency and a better understanding of how things work. Women who are well educated have a good understanding of reproductive health, childbirth, and family planning. On the other hand, less educated women are less likely to plan for childbirth and are vulnerable to getting infected.

4.Violence and sexual abuse.

While men are also victims of sexual and gender-based abuse, a big number of cases reported on sexual violence and abuse are on women. Adolescents are among those infected in such circumstances. Some abuses on women end up in rape, which increases the infections among women.

5.Cultural beliefs and practices.

Women are victims of outdated unhealthy cultural practices and beliefs. Wife inheritance, polygamy, and female genital mutilation are among the practices which increase the spread of HIV among women.

The survey carried out between June 2018, and February 2019 also found out that about 139000 children are living with HIV, with 79% having a parent or guardian known to be positive.


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