September 6, 2018

HIV research missing focus on young women

Written by Inga Vesper

[AMSTERDAM] HIV research must focus on young women and girls that still see growing rates of infection despite a global downturn, a conference has heard.

Women between 15 and 24 years of age are the only population in which the global rate of HIV infections is increasing, delegates heard at the AIDS 2018 conference this week (23-27 July) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Young women and girls also carry a larger share of the HIV burden compared with men and boys in many parts of the world. In East Africa, around 2.5 per cent of women aged 15-24 carry the virus, compared to around 1 per cent of men.

Part of the problem is that studying women as a subgroup is difficult, scientists told the event. This is because women in poor areas are often less literate and mobile than men, meaning they can struggle to contribute their experience to science. They may also face specific obstacles to seeking treatment or getting involved in research, such as duties of care towards children and the elderly.

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