Aids Virus Is Gaining on Women

Article excerpt

The pattern of the AIDS epidemic has changed, with women - particularly young girls and adolescents - becoming the fastest-growing group of new cases of HIV infections, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Ten years ago, few women were infected with HIV - the virus linked to AIDS - but now they represent 50 percent of all new HIV infections, according to the WHO conference on women and AIDS. They did not produce the 1985 statistics.

"Every minute of the day, every day of the year, two women become infected by HIV, and every two minutes a woman dies of AIDS," said Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, an Indonesian member of parliament and chairwoman of the U.N. agency's conference.

Globally, 8 million women are infected with HIV, and 5 million more are expected to contract infections by the year 2000, WHO said. Conservative estimates hold that 16 million adults and 1 million children are infected by the virus, and 4.5 million have AIDS.

Mboi blamed the inferior position of women in sexual and economic matters for rising infections among women. In some societies, women are not permitted to talk about sex with men or to negotiate safer sex, she noted.

The three-day conference brought together more than 50 policymakers and AIDS and women's activists to develop a plan to protect women against the virus. …