omen may be at greater risk of being infected with HIV during sexual contact than men due to forced sex, dating elderly men, transactional sex, and marriage to much older men. HANNAH ODUJINRIN writes.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) kills or damages cells of the body’s immune system. The most advanced stage of infection with HIV is Acquired immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Throughout the world, HIV is most often spread through sex. Hence, HIV is often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person.
According to Dr. Nwagu Chidi, Masaka Central Hospital, Nasarawa State, the majority of new HIV cases in women are the result of sexual behaviors.
Dr. Chidi said roughly two out of every three new infections in women are the result of unprotected sexual intercourse, adding that the remaining new cases in Illinois are largely due to sharing needles and works while using injection drugs.
He explained that during heterosexual intercourse, women are usually more exposed to bodily fluids than their male partners. This places women at increased risk for many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV.
‘’Women, especially young women, may be more vulnerable because they may be afraid to say no to sex or to insist that their partner use a condom. They also receives sperm from male counterparts, hence, if a man is HIV positive it makes it more easier for a woman to be infected with the virus because women are receptive,’’ he said.
Dr. Chidi also said disproportionately level of HIV infection is found among women in relationships with older men because of the unequal power in the relationship.
‘’Many women, especially those in the rural areas, are infected by their husbands who work away from home for long period of time, like miners, truckers or soldiers and engage in unprotected sex while away. They may get infected with HIV from their husband upon returning home.
‘’It is also common in many part of the world for young girls to marry before the age of 18 years old most often, they marry older men, sexually experienced man who may already be infected with HIV and transmit it to their young wives,’’ he said.
He said that studies prove that one in three women worldwide will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Sexual violence is prone to increase the ricks of infection as it can damage the private wall through the violent act, allowing infected semen to have direct contact with underlying tissue.
He said forced sex can also deny woman with the ability to insist on use of condom.
He however advised that young girls do avoid having multiple sex partner and stare away from sharing needles.
‘’HIV/AIDS can transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and semen. Using injection drugs, having unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners increases the chances of acquiring HIV.
‘’ The only way to be absolutely certain you do not become infected with HIV is to not have sex and not use injection drugs. You also can avoid infection by only having one sex partner as long as your partner does not have HIV and has sex only with you,’’ he added.