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Shine YOUR Light ~ Learn More About HIV and AIDS

HIV/AIDS Over 40 million people in the world are HIV infected. Seventy percent of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than half are women. Without access to the medical advance available in richer countries, most will die. Women’s social and sexual status puts them at particular risk of infection. Sexual relations between men and women are often framed by violence, coercion, and the presumption of men’s “right” of sexual access to women.  Many women are not able to negotiate safe sexual behavior with male partners. Higher illiteracy rates fro women, and certain social arrangements such as polygamy add to their burden of risk. Women, the traditional caretakers of families, often have no one to care for them when they are ill. The deaths of women leave whole households without support. Worldwide, a huge population of AIDS orphans, totaling an estimated 14 million children, has been left in the wake of the disease – 11 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Girls who are orphaned are particularly vulnerable to sexual and economic exploitation and thus, in turn, to IV infection. Men are increasingly seeking young girls as sexual partners, presuming them to be safe from infection. This is both a local and global patter: international trafficking in women increasingly involves ever younger girls. Women are becoming infected on average at an age five to ten years younger then me.