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Science 308 (5728): 1582-1583

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

HIV/AIDS in Women: An Expanding Epidemic

Thomas C. Quinn1,2*, and Julie Overbaugh3

Abstract: More than 20 years into the human immunodeficiency virus–type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic, women account for nearly half of the 40 million people living with HIV-1 worldwide, with an even higher proportion existing in developing countries. Social determinants of female vulnerability to HIV-1 include gender disparities, poverty, cultural and sexual norms, lack of education, and violence. Women are also more susceptible to HIV-1 because of hormonal changes, vaginal microbial ecology and physiology, and a higher prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases. Prevention strategies must address the wide range of gender inequalities that promote the dissemination of HIV-1.

1 Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
2 Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, and International Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
3 Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tquinn{at}

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