286 HIV and AIDS
safer sex, 189
HIV and AIDS are different for women because:
• women get infected with HIV more easily than men do because
during sex, she is the ‘receiver’. This means a man’s semen stays in
the woman’s vagina for a long time. And if there is HIV in the semen,
there is more chance for it to pass into a woman’s blood through
her vagina or cervix, especially if there are any cuts, sores, or STIs.
• women are often infected at a younger age than men.
This is because young women and girls are less able to refuse
unwanted or unsafe sex and are often married young to older
men who have had more chances to be infected.
• women often live with untreated STIs. These make it easier to
become infected with HIV.
• women get more blood transfusions than men because of
problems during childbirth.
• poor nutrition and weakness from childbearing too often make
women less able to fight disease.
• women are blamed unfairly for the spread of AIDS, even
though many men are unwilling to wear condoms or limit their
number of sex partners.
• a pregnant woman infected with HIV can pass it to her baby.
• women are usually the caretakers for family members who are
sick with AIDS, even if they are sick themselves.
You can prevent the spread of HIV in these ways:
• If possible, have sex with only one partner who has sex only with you.
• Practice safer sex—sex that prevents semen, blood and vaginal
fluids from getting into your vagina, anus, or mouth. Use
condoms correctly whenever you have sex.
• Get tested for HIV and treated for STIs, and make sure your
partners do too.
• Avoid piercing or cutting the skin with needles or other tools
that have not been disinfected between uses.
• Avoid blood transfusions except in emergencies.
• Do not share razors.
• Do not touch someone else’s blood or wound without
protection (see page 295).
Women and girls should
have a right to protect
their lives against HIV.
To do this we need:
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012