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Women under spotlight on World AIDS Day

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Women under spotlight on World AIDS Day

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The global effect of AIDS has been dubbed the “genocide of a generation” and on World AIDS Day this year, the plight of women is a central theme. Across the planet, females account for almost half the number of adults living with the HIV virus.

In Africa, the world’s poorest continent, effective treatment is in short supply. Not only are women biologically more susceptible but in many areas social attitudes, discrimination and violence also play a role. There are cheating husbands who refuse to wear a condom, for example. Then there is rape and female trafficking. Nearly 60 percent of those with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. There has been a 56 percent increase in the number of women infected in East Asia over the past two years and 48 percent rises in Eastern Europe and Central Asia over the same period. In Russia, where nearly a million people are thought to be infected, education is becoming more widespread, both in the classroom and in the media. But much more needs to be done to halt the progression of AIDS, not least in South Africa which has more people living with HIV-AIDS than anywhere else in the world. There, an estimated 600 people die every day from the disease which is robbing economies of workers, families of breadwinners and cutting average life expectancy by decades.