Girls and young women fail to benefit from HIV prevention programs

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Girls and young women fail to benefit from HIV prevention programs

The Joint United Nation Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that 7,500 girls and young women, 10 to 24 years of age contract HIV infection every week. The highest rates are among young girls in southern and eastern Africa. This states that girls and young women persist to be at high risk of contracting the HIV infection.

Girls and young women make up 71% of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Though active prevention efforts were taken in southern Africa, recent clinical trials measured new HIV infection rates of 4 to 6% per year among young women. The results suggest us to take aggressive measures to decrease new HIV infections among girls and young women.

Current HIV prevention package of HIV testing, behavioral risk reduction, management of sexually transmitted infections and condom use is not enough as young women often fail to remain protected. Older men are exposing most girls and young women to HIV infection in southern Africa.

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The young women have hardly a choice to decide how and with whom to have sex. They live with a complex mix of economic dependency, limited educational opportunity, gender inequality, unequal power dynamics and social norms.

In July 2016, the International AIDS Conference will be held in Durban, South Africa, for the first time since 2000. During last 16 years, AIDS effort has been transformed. However, much remains there to attain, basically for girls and young women. The conference will strengthen HIV prevention efforts in order to end HIV among this vulnerable segment of society.

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