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Soc Sci Med. 1995 Apr;40(7):931-43.

Transforming aids prevention to meet women's needs: a focus on developing countries.

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  • 1Violence, Sexuality and Health Rights Program, Pacific Institute for Women's Health, Washington, DC 20036, USA.


As currently conceived, the global AIDS prevention strategy consists primarily of three interrelated tactics: (1) encouraging people to reduce their number of sexual partners; (2) promoting the widespread use of condoms; and (3) treating concurrent STDs in populations at risk of HIV. This three-pronged attack, however, is inadequate for meeting the protection needs of many of the world's women. Disproportionately poor and with little power to negotiate the terms of sexual encounters, women often cannot avail themselves of these life-saving strategies. Women need both a new commitment to addressing the underlying inequities that heighten their risk, and new technologies that provide them with a means of HIV protection within their personal control. This article makes the case for restructuring AIDS prevention by describing the growing risk of HIV infection faced by women throughout the world, examining the serious limitations of the contemporary AIDS prevention strategy in meeting women's needs, and exploring how new approaches--including a shift toward a more 'community organizing' approach to AIDS prevention--could help women exert more control over their sexual and reproductive lives.

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