HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, kills or damages cells of the body's immune system. The most advanced stage of infection with HIV is AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
HIV 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.
Women can get HIV more easily during vaginal sex than men can. And if they do get HIV, they have unique problems, including:
- Complications such as repeated vaginal yeast infections, severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and a higher risk of cervical cancer
- Different side effects from the drugs that treat HIV
- The risk of giving HIV to their baby while pregnant or during childbirth
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Top Questions About HIV Prevention and Women (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
- Female and Facing HIV: The Challenges (AIDS.gov)
Statistics and Research
- HIV among Women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence and HIV in Women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Women and HIV/AIDS in the United States (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: HIV/AIDS in Women (National Institutes of Health)