Women are just as prone to HIV/AIDS as men. However, women contract HIV/AIDS in different ways that may not be peculiar to men. Here we discussed multiple ways women contract HIV/AIDS. We also highlighted the impact of HIV/AIDS on patients, how to reduce sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS in women, and how mothers can prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS to their children.
Some ways of contraction of HIV/AIDS in women include;
Polygamy/multiple sex partners: The African culture has promoted polygamy and has encouraged men to have multiple sex partners in men which have in turn helped to increase the prevalence of HIV among women. A man can have as many wives as he desires and still engages in extramarital affairs. Hence one man can spread HIV to as many women as possible thus making marriage in itself a risk factor for HIV infection.
Early Marriage: Early marriage increases women’s chance of being infected with HIV. Young girls have thinner vaginal membranes than older women making them more susceptible to tears and STIs including HIV. The husbands, on the other hand, are likely to be older, already sexually active and involved in high risk sex.
Harmful Cultural and Traditional Practices: Harmful cultural practices such as female circumcision, wife inheritance, widowhood-related rituals, have put women at high risk of being infected with HIV.
Gender-Inequality: Gender-inequality fueled by various social, cultural, and religious beliefs has contributed in the spread of HIV. In many cultures it is indecent for women to negotiate safer sex, it is associated with promiscuity. Religious organizations have also contributed by discouraging contraception including condom use and promoting ignorance in women regarding sexual matters in the name of innocence/purity.
Impact of HIV/AIDS
- Feeling of worthlessness and withdrawal from social engagements as a result of stigma and discrimination.
- Decreased productivity due to illness.
- Conflict in marriage and divorce due to mistrust.
- Poverty and poor nutrition due to strains on finances.
- Increased number of orphans in the society.
- Increased burden on health care system.
- Decreased life expectancy.
- Slows down human and economic development.
Interventions to Reduce Sexual Transmission of HIV
- Better management of sexually transmitted infections.
- Encouraging fewer sexual partners.
- Abstinence or delayed onset of sex.
- Faithfulness among Partners.
- Safe sex practices and the correct and consistent use of condoms.
- Reduced stigma and discrimination against people infected with HIV.
- Disclosure of status to partners to prevent transmission to sexual partners.
Interventions That Reduce Non-Sexual Modes of Transmission
- Testing of donors and screening of blood before blood transfusion.
- Application of universal safety precautions such as safe and proper disposal of sharps and needles, not sharing sharps etc.
Interventions That Reduce Mother To Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS
- HIV counselling and testing at all antenatal clinics.
- Both positive mother and her baby should use anti-Retro viral drugs
- Promoting safer delivery practices to prevent infecting baby.
- Encouraging safer feeding options.