Women & HIV/AIDS Vulnerability

Women and HIV/AIDS – Vulnerability
India’s social structure leaves women at a much greater risk of contracting the virus than men. The reasons being:
Biological
During intercourse a large section of the female genital mucosal surface is exposed which could lead to microlesions that are believed to be the entry points for the HIV virus. Young women who have not attained physiological maturity are at even greater risk.
A larger virus is present in sperm than in vaginal secretions
Coerced sex increases the risk of microlesions
Economically
India’s patriarchal society puts women in a state of financial or material dependence on men allowing them to control when, with whom and in what circumstance to have sex
Again most women are forced to sell sex for material needs and survival. While most people are aware of sex workers in cities, in rural India the problem is even more compounded with even housewives forced to turn to this means for survival.
Socially and culturally
Women discussing or seeking information on sex, let alone making decisions in this regards is taboo
A women requesting for a condom or refusing sex is often suspected of infidelity
Unmarried and even unmarried men are known to frequent sex workers which puts them at high risk of contracting the virus which is in turn transmitted to their partners