INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION OF WOMEN
THIRTY-THIRD ASSEMBLY OF DELEGATES OEA/Ser.L/II.2.33
November 13 to 15, 2006 CIM/doc.9/06
San Salvador, El Salvador 25 September 2006
REPORT ON WOMEN AND HIV/AIDS
IN THE AMERICAS
(Item 3 on the Agenda)
REPORT ON WOMEN AND HIV/AIDS
IN THE AMERICAS
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome -
HIV/AIDS- has killed 25 million people since it emerged 25 years ago, destroying the body’s
immunity, leaving it weak and easy prey for any number of opportunistic infections and cancers.
Today, many still view the disease as the burden of gay men, intravenous drug users, and commercial
sex workers. Or else it is perceived to cause devastation, create social and economic havoc in Sub-
Saharan Africa. While it is true that these populations are incredibly vulnerable and deserving of
attention in the battle against this disease, HIV/AIDS has been moving beyond these perceptions,
with devastating consequences.
Increasingly, HIV/AIDS is becoming the disease of vulnerable, poor, young women, many of
them monogamous. The feminization of HIV/AIDS is becoming frighteningly evident in Latin
America, comprising a growing percentage of new infections, with heterosexual sex as the dominant
mode of transmission. Women are suffering and dying in ever-increasing numbers, many without the
support of their families or society. While much progress has been made in the region in the
prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, much remains to be done.
The following report summarizes the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the world, providing a
snapshot of the region’s epidemics and the women infected. It provides a brief description of the
distinct biological, socio-cultural, and economic vulnerabilities women face, particularly in Latin
America, and looks at some long-term effects of women’s infection with the virus. And, finally, it
summarize some regional efforts currently in place to help women protect themselves from and seek
treatment for HIV/AIDS.
Intended to serve as a brief overview of the situation of women in the Americas, this report
provides information from secondary sources. Detailed footnotes are provided to assist those who
wish to view the original source material. No original research is contained herein. It should be noted
that all of the data obtained from secondary sources are estimates, and that these estimates are
believed by some sources to inaccurately measure the scale and scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
OVERVIEW OF THE GLOBAL EPIDEMIC
In 1981 the U.S. Center for Disease Control began to receive the first few reports from
California and New York of formerly healthy, young, gay male patients, whose immune systems
were almost entirely destroyed, dying from illnesses, cancers, and opportunistic infections that were
thought to affect only the old and the weak. By 1982, it was clear that the disease was not confined
to gay men in the U.S. The first cases were seen in both Haitian men and women, and hemophiliacs
in the U.S.1/2/ Reports emerged from Europe of similar symptoms in young, gay men and people
connected to Central Africa, and of a wasting disease, known only as “the slim,” which was
spreading in Uganda.3/ In 1983, reports of women contracting AIDS, in the absence of any other risk
factors such as blood transfusions or drug injection, confirmed that HIV/AIDS could be spread via
dying from the disease.4/ Heterosexual sex.5/ By 1985 people in every region of the world were
suffering. The disease was officially named: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Today, the pandemic is vast in scope. By early 2006 it was estimated that 65 million people
had contracted AIDS, and that the illness had claimed the lives of 25 million. In 2005 alone 2.8
million people died and another 4 million were infected. Of the 38.6 million people living with
HIV/AIDS today, 17.3 million, nearly one half, are women. And 1800 children are infected with HIV
daily, most via mother to child transmission.6/ Half of those who are infected before their 18th
birthday die before age 35. In 2005, over 15 million children were orphaned by AIDS.7/
In 1985, as AIDS reached every corner of the world, scientists from the World Health
Organization (WHO) and other medical professionals, recommended a global strategy to combat the
disease. Their plan was later endorsed by the World Health Assembly and the UN General Assembly.
In 1987 the UN established the Global Programme on AIDS, and in 1996 the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which approaches AIDS as not merely as a health issue, but as
an issue of human development.8/
At the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on AIDS in 2001, 189 member countries
signed the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, promising “innovative responses, coordinated
efforts, and accountability for progress against the epidemic.” 9/ The priorities emphasized include:
ensuring that people everywhere, and young people in particular, knowing how to prevent infection;
halting mother-to-child transmission; providing treatment to everyone infected; searching for a
vaccine and a cure; and, providing care for those affected, especially the children orphaned by
The Declaration sets more comprehensive targets and indicators to further promote the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals regarding HIV/AIDS and also requires that
reports be made, in assessing national, regional, and global progress toward the achievement of these
In the 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic UNAIDS provides detailed information,
facts and figures at the global, regional, and national level. It evaluates progress made and remaining
challenges in the fight against AIDS, and highlights the four groups of people most particularly at
risk: men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, prisoners, and intravenous drug users.
Although many countries have met the requirements set by the target indicators of the Millennium
Development Goals and the 2001 Declaration, major deficiencies remain in global, regional, and
national responses to the pandemic, with many HIV prevention programs failing to reach those
populations most at risk. Despite the fact that the Declaration of Commitment sought comprehensive
knowledge of AIDS for 90% of young people worldwide, less than 50% have achieved it. Responses
to AIDS are not grounded in human rights, and those suffering from the disease are still subjected to
discrimination, stigma, and their access to treatment or preventive measures are obstructed. In most
countries, children orphaned by AIDS are not adequately cared for.11/
The 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic was released before the UN High Level
Meeting on AIDS, in June, 2006. Prior to the meeting, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS
participated in setting the agenda presented at the meeting. The Global Coalition on Women and
AIDS was established in 2004, under the auspices of UNAIDS. The group, comprised of NGOs, UN
Agencies, and networks of women living with HIV/AIDS, grew out of a concern regarding the
increasing feminization of the epidemic, and that AIDS policies were not meeting the needs of
women. The top priorities of the Coalition were: securing women’s rights, investing resources in
AIDS programs that work for women, and ensuring that women were among those who made the
decisions regarding AIDS policies at the local, national, regional and global levels.12/
The Director of UNAIDS, Dr. Peter Piot, made the priorities of the Coalition and UNAIDS
very clear: “The ultimate criterion for all AIDS programmes is ‘Does this work for women and
THE AIDS EPIDEMIC IN THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN REGION
The first cases of HIV/AIDS in the Latin American and Caribbean region appeared in Haiti
in the late 1970s, closely resembling the initial reports from the United States. Patients suffered from
Kaposi’s sarcoma, which, since 1968, had not been seen on the island. 14/ In the early years, the
epidemic was largely concentrated among men who had sex with men. 15/ By 1985, medical
professionals in Haiti diagnosed the first cases of HIV/AIDS in women and children. 16/
Today, over 2 million people are living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean. The
number of those infected with the disease is growing; over 380,000 people were newly infected in
2004. Only Sub-Saharan Africa has a higher HIV prevalence rate than the Caribbean. Central
America gives particular cause for concern. Several countries in that region have now reached an
HIV prevalence rate of over 1%, making HIV/AIDS a generalized epidemic in the region.17/
In the Caribbean, 330,000 people are living with HIV. In 2004, the disease claimed 22,000
lives. 37,000 were infected in 2005. Children under the age of 15 account for the 22,000 of the 330,
000 cases reported. Moreover, in a region where AIDS first spread amongst men having sex with
men, women now represent 51% of adults living with HIV. AIDS is the leading cause of death for
adults age 15-44.18/
The severity of the epidemic varies with the diverse cultural and social contexts that exist
within the Caribbean. While Cuba has an HIV prevalence of only 0.1%, Trinidad and Tobago surpass
the 2% mark. In Haiti and the Bahamas 3% or more of the population is infected. 19/ As of the year
2000, Haiti, the Bahamas, Barbados and Guyana had all surpassed the 1% threshold of a general
Haiti’s epidemic is the largest in the Caribbean where 4% of the population, 190,000 people,
are living with HIV/AIDS. Almost 4% of the population is infected. However, the last ten years,
there have been promising declines in the prevalence of HIV in urban Haiti. Some have attributed the
remarkable improvement to changes in behavior, such as abstinence, faithfulness, and condom use.
Others feel that decreased prevalence is a result of efforts to improve the safety of the blood supply
during the initial outbreak, and to the deaths of those first infected with disease. This hypothesis is
supported by evidence that the decline began before the implementation of behavioral prevention
methods. However, there is cause for concern. Haitians are becoming sexually active at younger
ages, and condom use in the 15-24 age group is becoming less common.21/
While the AIDS epidemic is generalized in the Caribbean, it remains concentrated in specific
populations and regions of Latin America. However, in several Central American countries, the
prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS has passed the 1% mark to be classified as epidemic.22/
Table 1: HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean
Country Living with HIV/AIDS Deaths due to
All people Adult (15-49) AIDS during 2005
Bahamas 6,800 3.3 <500
Barbados 2,700 1.5 <500
Cuba 4,800 0.1 <500
Dominican Republic 66,000 1.1 6,700
Haiti 190,000 3.8 16,000
Jamaica 25,000 1.5 1,300
Trinidad and Tobago 27,000 2.6 1,900
Total 330,000 1.6 27,000
In Latin America 1.6 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 32,000 are
children under the age of 15. Overall, 140,000 children were infected in 2005 alone. The countries in
the region that have the largest populations, Argentina and Brazil, also have the largest epidemics,
with prevalence rates, 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. Over one-third of all those living with HIV in
Latin America reside in Brazil.
The countries with the greatest HIV prevalence, however, are poorer nations in Central
America, such as Belize and Honduras. Here, more than 1.5% of the population is infected. Across
the region, the epidemic seems to be concentrated in men who have sex with men and female sex
workers. However, more and more women are becoming infected at faster rates. Women are
accounting for a rapidly increasing share of all new HIV/AIDS cases.23/
Central America’s growing epidemic is cause for great concern. The information available
indicates that HIV/AIDS is spreading at an alarming rate due to unprotected sex. In Honduras, 1.5%
of the population suffered from HIV/AIDS in 2005 and was the leading cause of death for Honduran
women. The situation is similar in Guatemala. Belize has the highest prevalence of the entire region
Table 2: HIV/AIDS in Latin America
Country Living with HIV/AIDS Deaths due to
All people Adult (15-49) AIDS during 2005
Argentina 130,000 0.6 4,300
Belize 3,700 2.5 <500
Bolivia 7,000 0.1 <500
Brazil 620,000 0.5 14,000
Chile 28,000 0.3 <500
Colombia 160,000 0.6 8,200
Costa Rica 7,400 0.3 <100
Ecuador 23,000 0.3 1,600
El Salvador 36,000 0.9 2,500
Guatemala 61,000 0.9 2,700
Guyana 12,000 2.4 1,200
Honduras 63,000 1.5 3,700
Mexico 180,000 0.3 6,200
Nicaragua 7,300 0.2 <500
Panama 17,000 0.9 <1,000
Paraguay 13,000 0.4 <500
Peru 93,000 0.6 5,600
Suriname 5,200 1.9 <500
Uruguay 9,600 0.5 <500
Venezuela 110,000 0.7 6,100
Total 1,600,000 0.5 59,000
Trends and Transmission
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean is much more advanced, entrenched, and
generalized than that which currently exists in Latin America. According to CARICOM, the
Caribbean region reported its largest number of new infections from 1995-1998, and has the greatest
number of these new infections in the Americas, and, as stated, he second greatest HIV/AIDS
incidence rate in the world.25/ The disease is generalized throughout the population, affecting men
and women, adults and children. Women constitute 51% of those infected, 26/ up from 35% in 1999.27/
In the early days of the epidemic, the predominant mode of transmission of the virus was sex
between men. Today heterosexual intercourse has replaced homosexual relations as the primary
method of spreading HIV. Sex between men continues to play a prominent role in transmission,
while intravenous drug use is only significant in a few local Caribbean epidemics.28/
As mentioned above, Haiti, the site of the worst AIDS epidemic in the Americas, has
experienced a slight decline in deaths due to the virus. However, the island nation continues to have
the highest HIV prevalence in the Caribbean, and the second highest in the world. Young people and
women continue to be particularly at risk in this nation. In Haiti, as in most of the Caribbean, the
taboo sex between men plays a significant role, as does unprotected sex.29/
In the Dominican Republic, levels of infection have remained stable over the past decade.
Increasingly high levels are found among men who have sex with men, and in poorer areas. 30/ On the
sugar plantations, or ‘bateyes,’ according to government studies, the prevalence is 5%, nearly five
times the national rate of 1.1%.31/ Both the Bahamas and Barbados have experienced a decline in HIV
The picture is much bleaker in Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana, countries with
generalized HIV/AIDS epidemics. Trinidad and Tobago are experiencing increasingly high levels of
HIV/AIDS among young girls in the 15 to 19 year-old age group, who are six times more likely to be
infected by the disease than their male counterparts. Again, this serves to highlight the transmission
of the virus via unprotected heterosexual relations.
HIV/AIDS has not yet become a full-blown regional epidemic in Latin America. In 2003, the
World Bank classified it under a “low endemic setting.” The disease is mostly concentrated among
high-risk groups such as men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, commercial sex workers,
prisoners, and people with sexually transmitted infections. Honduras and southeastern Brazil are
exceptions, both achieving prevalence rates above those necessary to manifest an AIDS epidemic. 33/
HIV/AIDS in Latin America consists of numerous epidemics that exist within sub-regions
and individual countries. As a result, modes of transmission vary throughout the region. In Central
America the virus is spread predominantly through heterosexual relations. In South America it is sex
between men that efficiently and fatally facilitates the transmission of HIV. According to UNAIDS,
drug use is a particularly significant factor in the Southern Cone. 34/ However, a recent report in
Science magazine contends that this mode is declining rapidly, especially in relation to transmission
via heterosexual sex. According to the Argentine Ministry of Health 50.7% of HIV infections were
acquired during heterosexual intercourse in 2004.35/ Transmission between female sex workers and
their clients accounts for many new infections in the region. 36/ There are indications that the disease
is having a greater impact on rural areas than ever before. While men continue to account for a
larger percentage of those living with HIV/AIDS, the gender gap is closing rapidly.37/
In Brazil, despite the fact that infections due to drug use were declining, the highest levels of
seropositivity were still found among injecting drug users. In a trend reflecting a cross-regional
phenomenon, women comprise an increasing share of all new infections. There is also great concern
for young people (age 15-24) where 1 in 3 said they were sexually active before the age of 15, and 1
in 5 said they had had more than one partner. In Argentina, which has similar prevalence levels, the
epidemic is concentrated in prisoners, injecting drug users and men having sex with men. 38/
HIV/AIDS in the Andean region is spread primarily by men having sex with men. There are
indications, however, that the epidemic is becoming wider in its scope. In Chile, for example, a
growing number of men who have sex with men are infecting their female partners. Ecuador is also
dealing with the effects of this mode of transmission. In that country, there is a relatively low rate of
infection in paid sex workers, but increasingly, women are being infected by their regular partners or
husbands who have had unprotected sex with other men. The same trend is evident in Colombia. Peru
and Bolivia also have high rates of prevalence among men who have sex with men. Paid sex is a
lesser, but still damaging, factor in transmission in Peru.39/
Unprotected sex is the greatest contributing factor to transmission in Central America. While
sex between men and paid sex drive the epidemic, it has spread to the general population in
Honduras.40/ While general prevalence is 1.5%, it is 13% among men who have sex with men, 9.7%
among commercial sex workers, and, according to most recent estimates, 8.4% among the Garífuna
minority. However, these numbers belie the 1:1 ratio of male and female infections over the last
year.41/ Guatemala’s epidemic is similar, but, according to UNAIDS, it is concentrated in urban areas
and along major transportation routes.42/ However, the head of the CDC office in that country claims
that no one has adequately measured prevalence in the rural Mayan population, and thus prevalence
rates could be even higher than the documented 0.9%.43/ Sex between men, concealed by taboo, is a
major method of transmission in Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica. In Mexico
it is estimated that as many as two-thirds of all those living with HIV/AIDS were infected via sex
between men. The transmission of the virus to women is nevertheless increasing rapidly. 44/
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), if the HIV/AIDS epidemic is
allowed to continue at its current pace and scope, life expectancy in countries like Haiti and Guyana
will be reduced by up to ten years. In a moderate-case scenario, it is estimated that by 2015 there will
be 3.3 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean living with HIV/AIDS. Over the next ten
years, close to three million people will be newly infected. Between 1.5 and 2 million people will die
of HIV/AIDS, and women will comprise an increasing share of the fatalities. The number of children
orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the region will rise from 795,000 in 2005 to 1.4 million by 2015.45/
AT RISK: Women and HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean
Table 3: Women and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean by Region
Women and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean by Region
Estimated Estimated Estimated
Number of Number of Percent of Infected
Infected Adults Infected Women Adults who are Women
CARIBBEAN 300 000 160 000 53%
Bahamas 6800 3800 56%
Barbados 2700 <1000
Cuba 4800 2600 54%
Dominican Republic 66 000 31 000 47%
Guyana 12 000 6600 55%
Haiti 190 000 96 000 51%
Jamaica 25 000 6900 28%
Suriname 5200 1400 27%
Trinidad and Tobago 27 000 15 000 56%
LATIN AMERICA 1 600 000 480 000 30%
Belize 3600 1000 28%
Costa Rica 7300 2000 27%
El Salvador 35 000 9900 28%
Guatemala 59 000 16 000 27%
Honduras 61 000 16 000 23%
Nicaragua 7200 1700 24%
Panama 17 000 4300 25%
*Mexico 180 000 42 000 23%
Bolivia 6800 1900 28%
Colombia 160 000 45 000 28%
Ecuador 22 000 12 000 55%
Peru 91 000 26 000 29%
Venezuela 110 000 31 000 28%
Argentina 130 000 36 000 28%
Brazil 610 000 220 000 36%
Chile 28 000 7600 27%
Uruguay 9500 5300 56%
Paraguay 13 000 3500 27%
Source: UNAIDS 2006 Report, organized, totaled, percentages calculated by the author.
Undoubtedly, Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemic and it is
estimated that over 59% of those living with HIV/AIDS are women. On average, in that region three
women are infected for every two men.46/ But Sub-Saharan Africa is not the only region that is
experiencing a feminization of HIV/AIDS. It was estimated that in 1999 women accounted for 25
and 37 percent of HIV positive adults in Latin America and the Caribbean respectively. By 2001
those numbers had climbed to 30 and 50 percent.47/ More and more frequently the mode of
transmission of HIV/AIDS is sex between a man and a woman.
Who, then, are these women, who are part of those ever-increasing statistics? They are
young, they are poor, and many are married or in long-term, stable, and for their part, monogamous
relationships. Along Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, one study found that over 72% of women who
tested positive for HIV/AIDS during efforts to combat mother-to-child transmission were in stable
relationships.48/ According to USAID, in Chinandaga, Nicaragua, the HIV prevalence of married
women is double that of commercial sex workers.49/ Many perceive that HIV/AIDS is a disease that
only affects the sexually promiscuous, while, in reality, more and more HIV positive women are
infected by their husbands.50/
These are the women that live daily in the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Their numbers are growing,
because women are particularly at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and, eventually dying from it. For
over 15 years experts have known that gender plays a significant role in the transmission and
experience of living with HIV/AIDS.51/ This is increasingly evident in Latin America. Multiple
factors contribute to the vulnerability of the women in the region to the devastating effects of the
virus. Among them are biological factors, socio-cultural influences, and socio-economic realities,
which, when combined, make HIV/AIDS one of the greatest threats these women face in their day to
Women are 2 to 4 times more vulnerable physiologically to HIV/AIDS than men. Most
women contract HIV/AIDS through heterosexual intercourse. During sex tiny cuts open along the
soft tissue of the vagina and of the anus, which have larger sensitive, exposed areas of skin. 52/ HIV
survives more easily inside the vagina than it does on the penis. Moreover, semen contains more
copies of HIV than vaginal fluids, and hence, men are more likely to transmit the disease to their
There are additional risk factors for young women, women who are forced or coerced into
having sex, and women who already have Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). The immature
vaginal tissue of young girls is much more likely to tear during intercourse. 54/ This vulnerability is
especially important in the Caribbean, where age-mixing in sexual relations is very common.
Throughout the region it is also a concern for street children, who are sometimes forced to use
exchange sex for survival.55/
Violent, forced, and coerced sex all increase the likelihood of vaginal tearing because the
vagina is not well lubricated. This makes transmission much more likely. Women are more often
subjected to rape and coerced sex than men.56/
Women who have STIs are also likely to have lesions and open sores within their genital
tract. Lesions on either partner are more likely to release copies of HIV and the immune cells that
HIV attacks are more concentrated in the genital area in order to combat the existing STI. 57/
Moreover, they are less likely to detect the signs or symptoms of STIs than men. Even if they become
aware of such infections they are unlikely to seek treatment for them out of shame or fear.58/
In addressing women’s socio-cultural vulnerabilities to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it is
essential to address the issues of gender and sexuality. A person’s sex is defined by those biological
factors that place them on the spectrum of males and females. Gender, on the other hand, is related to
cultural aspects assigned to a sex. Sexuality includes gender, sex, sexual orientation, sexual and
gender identity, among other factors.59/
Power is a central component of sexuality and gender. It is a factor in any sexual relation,
whether heterosexual or homosexual. Relative power dictates whose pleasure is prioritized, and
when, where, and how sexual intercourse occurs. To understand the risk involved in sexual
interaction and hence, the risk for many women of contracting HIV/AIDS, one needs to have a grasp
of gender, sexuality, and power, and how they interrelate in a cultural setting.60/
In almost all societies, gender and the socio-cultural values associated with it create an
uneven balance of power between men and women. In the Latin American and Caribbean regions,
this uneven balance of power is visible in the cultures of marianismo and machismo. Marianismo is
the culture of femininity and female sexuality, which bases ideals of womanhood on the Virgin
Mary. It emphasizes virginity, chastity, morality, obedience, and spirituality. 61/ Machismo, on the
other hand, defines male sexuality and masculinity as strength, sexual prowess and experience,
aggression and domination. Machismo demands heterosexuality.62/
Machismo and Marianismo are the dominant socio-cultural ideologies of the region.
However, Latin America and the Caribbean are so culturally diverse that there are many other forms
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that gender relations and ideologies can take throughout the area. They make both men and women
more vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.63/ These gender roles negatively affect the ability of
women to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS in many ways.
Women’s ability to gather knowledge about sex and, more particularly, their sexual health, is
severely limited by prevailing gender ideologies. Women are expected to be completely ignorant
regarding sexual matters.64/ They are afraid to seek information about reproductive health because for
fear of the implication that they are sexually active, especially if they are unmarried. 65/ In a survey of
23 developing countries an average of 75% of men had accurate knowledge of HIV/AIDS compared
to 65% of women, a difference of 10 percentage points. In Brazil this gap is only 1.9%, but in Peru it
widens to a disturbing 12.7%.66/
These differences in knowledge are dangerous. They leave women, particularly young
women, uninformed of the risk of HIV transmission during sexual intercourse. In one study in Brazil,
36% of women reported sexual experiences by the age of 13.67/ Yet it is the young who, often due to
the strong cultural preference for female virginity, do not have access to information. This in turn
allows misinformation to spread, often with harmful consequences. For instance, fears and myths
about condom use, such as the belief that if the condom falls off inside the vagina it could travel to
other parts of the body, like the throat, and cause serious problems, contribute to a woman’s fear of
In addition to the ideal of virginity, women are also supposed to be passive and submissive
during sexual relations.69/ When coupled with ignorance regarding sexual matters, this greatly
reduces a woman’s ability to negotiate safer sex with her male partner. The culturally ideal woman
does not initiate sex, nor does she initiate condom use. Moreover, women may engage in even riskier
sexual behavior to preserve their virginity such as anal sex, which more efficiently transmits HIV
than vaginal sex. Studies that suggest the practice is fairly common among heterosexual couples in
Brazil and Guatemala as a way to maintain a woman’s virginity and prevent pregnancy.70/
On the other hand, men are expected to have extensive knowledge of sexual matters. This
encourages them to have unsafe sex with multiple partners at an early age. Studies in the Latin
American and Caribbean showed that boys are more likely to know how to use a condom and to
recognize the signs of an STI. However, because they are expected to be experienced, they too are
often discouraged from finding information on HIV/AIDS.71/
Women are also left vulnerable by the way in which the concepts of male and female gender
influence attitudes toward fidelity in relationships. These concepts hold that women only have sex in
order to have children, know nothing about and do not enjoy sex. Men have sex as a form of physical
release.72/ Studies show that heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men all over the world have
higher rates of partner change than women.73/ Hence, while a woman may indeed be faithful to her
partner, he is not necessarily monogamous in return, increasing the risk of HIV/AIDS.
Machismo emphasizes the physical and sexual dominance of men over women,74/ an attitude
that encourages violence against women. Often this abuse takes the form of sexual violence or
coercion, causing lesions and cuts on the vaginal tissue and increasing the risk of transmission of
HIV/AIDS. If women ask their partners to use a condom they often risk violence because of implied
- 11 -
infidelity on either partner’s part. Children subjected to physical or sexual abuse are also more likely
to engage in risky sexual behavior later in life.75/
Age mixing involves older men having sex with younger women or girls, a widely accepted
practice in the Caribbean before the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Age-mixing occurs because
men believe that younger women are passive, more fertile, and not as likely to have HIV, and
because younger women think older men are better providers. These cultural attitudes and the
practice itself leave younger women extremely vulnerable because older men are more likely to have
contracted HIV and other STIs, and younger women and girls are more biologically susceptible to
HIV infection. A center for pregnant women in Jamaica found that women in their late teens had
double the rate of infection when compared to older women.76/ A study in Trinidad and Tobago
revealed that five times more 15-19 year-old girls are HIV-positive than boys of the same age.77/
The gender ideologies of machismo and marianismo also give rise to significant
vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS for women in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a result of these
cultural concepts of what it is to be male, and what it is to be female, women are discouraged from
pursuing the knowledge necessary to protect themselves from HIV, lack negotiating power regarding
condom use, engage in riskier sexual behavior to preserve their virginity, and remain with and
faithful to male partners that often engage in high risk sex with other people. Machismo gives rise to
ideals of male dominance that put women further at risk for HIV/AIDS.
The economic status of women in the Latin American and Caribbean region leaves them
enormously vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The feminization of poverty in the region, the unstable,
insecure, low-paid, and unpaid nature of women’s employment, the difficulties facing young girls
and female heads of households, and the use of sex work, or sex in exchange for economic security,
place women at great risk of becoming infected.
Worldwide, the majority of people living on less than one dollar a day are women. This gap
is widening, giving rise to the term, “the feminization of poverty.”78/ In Latin America and the
Caribbean, despite recent progress in women’s status thanks to higher levels of education for women
and girls, this trend persists.
Women in Latin America and the Caribbean are more likely to be employed in less secure,
stable, and well-paid jobs. Thirty to seventy percent of women are employed in insecure jobs in the
informal sector, and women in the formal sector still earn less than men. Women make up a greater
share of teachers, office assistants and domestic workers than men.79/ Although, the percentage of
women in salaried jobs may have increased, they have done so because of increased women’s
employment in the informal and maquila sectors of the economy. Millions of women take care of
their families and undertake domestic tasks unpaid.80/
Women who are employed in a lower-paying or less secure job tend to view their wages as
supplemental if they have a long-term partner. Studies have shown, more often than not, that in this
case women are unable to negotiate condom use or any other conditions of sexual relationships
because doing so would place them in economic jeopardy. If they insist on condom use they might
- 12 -
lose their partner, and hence their household’s primary source of income. This concern is more
pressing than any future health problems remaining in a risky relationship might pose.81/
Single-headed households are more likely to live in poverty. In Mexico, 17% of households
are single-headed.82/ Eighty-percent of all single-headed households are headed by women, relying on
only one salary for income. Women must bear responsibility for earning that income as well as all
domestic activities and therefore seek jobs with greater flexibility and less pay. 83/
Young girls face particular difficulties when entering the labor force or even when working
for economic survival. During times of crisis, especially economic crises, they are pulled out of
school to take on domestic responsibilities. Moreover, young girls have a harder time entering the
economy than young boys. In Chile, for example, low-income boys’ entry into the labor force is four
times that of low-income girls, and low-income girls have an unemployment rate of 40% in contrast
to 25% for boys.84/
All over the world, in conditions of extreme poverty, women turn to sex work simply to
survive. Women who are insecure economically, such as female heads of households and young
women are more likely to turn to sex work as a means of survival. Also, women may use other forms
of “transactional sex” in order to maintain economic stability for themselves and their children. In
Haiti and Jamaica, the practice of plasaj consists of women taking on several partners in “visiting
unions,” as they are called in Jamaica, thereby giving their children multiple fathers, all of whom
support the family to some degree. A full third of the women who did so in one study said that they
had begun a sexual relationship to fulfill economic need.85/ In such unions, where economic support
is dependent upon having children, women are unlikely to negotiate condom use.
Young girls are often drawn into sexual relationships with older men by the prospect of
fulfilling material needs and wants. As discussed, age-mixing is particularly risky for young girls
because they are less knowledgeable about sex and protection, because of their physiological
vulnerability to HIV, and because older men are more likely to have already been infected with HIV
or other STIs.86/
Sex tourism, another outgrowth of women’s poverty in the region, is a particularly
significant risk factor in the Caribbean, and is becoming a more worrisome problem in Latin
America. Sex work and sex tourism pose significant risks to women, young girls, and tragically even
children. Commercial sex workers are rarely in a position to negotiate condom use, are often subject
to sexual violence and abuse, and face stigmatization and legal barriers in seeking knowledge about
prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.87/
A significant socioeconomic risk factor for both men and women is migration. To escape
poverty, migrant workers seek labor outside their community. Men who migrate are more likely to
form new sexual relationships, sometimes with paid sex workers, increasing their risk of infection.
This is true for many men who migrate to the United States from Mexico and Central America.88/ It
was found recently that some Honduran truck workers had sexual relations with paid sex workers,
domestic workers, and long-term partners within a mere six months. When they return, their female
partners are not in a position to negotiate condom use because the male has been earning money for
their very survival.89/ Female migrant workers are at risk because while working away from home
- 13 -
they too take on sexual partners in order to gain greater economic security.90/
Women in Latin America are less likely to get tested, less likely to receive counseling and
medical care, and more likely to die rapidly from HIV/AIDS than men. Gender norms and resulting
socioeconomic conditions are to blame. Women usually do not have access to the economic
resources to pay for transportation or the opportunity cost of lost time. Also, they face barriers in the
healthcare system because of gender perceptions.91/
Many studies have been conducted in Brazil, where testing and antiretrovirals are provided
by the government, to determine why women are less likely to be tested and receive care. Among the
reasons for their delayed diagnosis and infrequent treatment were: care is offered in prenatal clinics
and poorer women, who are most at risk, rarely seek care until the late stages of pregnancy; women
do not perceive themselves to be at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS until their husband or partner is
diagnosed; and poor treatment from medical professionals.92/
The gender biased attitudes of healthcare professionals present a particular problem for
women accessing testing and care. In the same study, a majority of women tested for HIV received
no prior counseling, and among those who received counseling after their diagnosis, 14% reported
that they felt as if they were treated like prostitutes because they were HIV positive. 93/ Another study
of gynecological and antenatal programs in Brazil found that doctors had a difficult time informing
married women they were HIV positive and were reluctant to discuss how the women may have been
infected. They claimed that they did not want to interfere in the relationship of the married couple
and that they were not obligated to discuss sexuality with their patient. 94/ Another study in Brazil
discovered that male clients were more likely to receive condoms, information about their use, or
other information that would assist them in informing their partners.95/
Studies conducted in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa show that HIV/AIDS and
gender based violence are inextricably linked. Women who are victims of gender-based violence face
an increased risk of HIV infection, and women infected with HIV have an increased risk of becoming
victims of gender-based violence.96/
Research shows that violence against women is related to machista cultural identity.
Violence against women is a way of reinforcing the dominance of men. There is an indirect
relationship between physical violence and HIV risk; women are limited when they are abused or
when they are constantly under the threat of being abused. They have little or no power to negotiate
the conditions of sexual intercourse. The relationship between sexual violence and HIV/AIDS is
more direct because coerced or forced sex greatly increases the likelihood of transmission of the
Violence against women is a potential factor that could drive the spread of HIV/AIDS in
Latin America. Worldwide, 10 to 50% of women are physically assaulted by their partners. One-third
to one-half of these physically abused women report sexual abuse.98/ In Colombia 11% of women
have been physically abused by their partners, in Nicaragua 10%, and in Mexico and Peru 23% of
women have been abused by their husbands or long term partners.99/ In Monterrey, Mexico, 52% of
- 14 -
women who had been physically abused had also been abused sexually.100/ A study of 188 physically
abused women in León, Nicaragua, found that only 5 had not been either sexually or psychologically
abused as well.101/
Women’s vulnerability to violence means that they are not only subjected to physical, sexual,
emotional and verbal abuse, but also to an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Women who are
abused are less likely to leave a risky relationship for fear of violence, and are reluctant to seek
testing and counseling because they fear violence from their partner if they are indeed
Trafficking in Persons
The victims of human trafficking are at great risk of also becoming victims of HIV/AIDS.
Trafficking occurs of persons of either sex, but more often than not the victims are female.103/ All
trafficked persons, whether they are forced into domestic work, agricultural labor, or commercial sex
work, face the same heightened vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Their situation is very similar to that of
commercial sex workers, with one tragic exception. Since they are deprived of their freedom,
trafficked women cannot seek the information they need to protect themselves or the medical
attention they need for HIV or other STIs. They are physical or psychological captives. They are
often unfamiliar with their surroundings do not speak the language, and fear deportation or
retaliatory violence from their captors.104/
Violence in Conflict Situations
In times of conflict, women are exposed to substantially increased risks of HIV/AIDS. The
majority of these risks come from the physical and sexual violence experienced by women in conflict
zones. They are forced into marriages with enemy soldiers, they are raped, often gang raped, kept in
sexual slavery, and physically and psychologically abused.105/ The UN Special Rapporteur on
Violence Against Women stated that in Colombia “84% of human rights violations against women
are committed by the paramilitaries, 12 percent by the guerillas, and 3 percent by state actors.”
Among these violations was sexual violence.106/ While Guatemala was engulfed in conflict, women
were regularly kidnapped and raped by members of the military in an effort to humiliate Maya
communities.107/ The effect of these horrific crimes on women is compounded by the fact that the
military has an HIV infection rate 2 to 5 times higher than that of the general populace of any
Conflict, other crises, and natural disasters often produce massive forced migration and
displacement. Women at these times are particularly vulnerable, as they are more likely to become
single heads of households and face economic hardship. Thus, in addition to a heightened likelihood
of sexual violence, they turn to sex work as a means of supporting themselves and their families.109/
Forced migrants or internally displaced persons are often regarded with suspicion and hostility by
host communities, and thus their access to information and health care is often limited. 110/
IMPACT: Beyond vulnerabilities
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is gaining momentum in Latin America and the Caribbean, and
- 15 -
women are increasingly becoming infected. Socioeconomic and socio-cultural factors leave them
incredibly vulnerable to the disease. Even more striking are the effects of the infection, sickness, and
eventual death of these women, leaving their countries vulnerable to social disarray, economic
decline, and conflict.
HIV/AIDS is a devastating disease. Untreated, it quickly claims the lives of those it infects,
leaving them to suffer and die without the protection of the body’s immune system. But the
consequences of an individual infection, an individual decline, and an individual death are
compounded, and magnified as HIV/AIDS spreads to epidemic proportions within a country, and
within a region. It devastates the individual lives of those infected and the lives of their families. But
it also affects the economy of the nation and of the region. The effects and potential ramifications of
HIV/AIDS are saddening, troubling, and frightening.
Women are those most economically affected when they or a family member contracts
HIV/AIDS and becomes ill. When women themselves are infected, they face tremendous personal
and economic trials, as they are often abandoned by their partners, on whom they are often
economically independent. Not only must cope with the harsh economic circumstances if they
themselves are incapacitated by the disease, but it is women who are responsible for the care of
family members who are infected and of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.111/ When adults are
overburdened with the care of the sick than the orphaned, it is girl children, not boys, who are more
likely to have their education cut short so they may assist in the care of the ailing and the young. 112/
HIV/AIDS causes poverty on the individual level, as those ill and those caring for them are taken out
of the workforce and lose their sources of income.113/ As a result individuals and young girls in
particular, are driven into migrant labor and sex work to make ends meet. In order to survive to the
same situations that often put them at risk for HIV/AIDS.114/
The personal economic trials of women with HIV/AIDS can have a ripple effect. It takes
women, and in fact, all skilled labor out of any countries work force, because they are either infected
or caring for those infected with HIV/AIDS. This results in increased labor costs and loss of
productivity. This can slow economic growth for a country as a whole.115/
The struggle faced by HIV/AIDS orphans has broad consequences as well. In 2005, over 15
million children were orphaned by AIDS.116/ In 2004 there were over 12 million AIDS orphans in
Latin America and the Caribbean.117/ They often lose the opportunity to obtain any formal education.
They are deprived of their parents, and whatever skills and knowledge their mothers and fathers
might have passed on to the next generation.118/ Thus, they not only lose their families, but also many
of those skills necessary for their economic survival.119/
Regional responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic have received mixed reviews. In recent years
governments, regional organizations, international organizations, and NGOs have taken steps to
addressing the disease. However, some claim that most gains have been in the area of treatment. In
terms of preventive efforts, the region, as a whole, lags behind much of the world. 120/ “‘You have
- 16 -
access to antiretrovirals in many, many places in Latin America and the Caribbean,’ says Brazilian
epidemiologist Luiz Loures, who works with UNAIDS. ‘But it's a paradox. They are far behind when
it comes to prevention for highly vulnerable populations like MSM and IDUs. My conclusion is it
looks easier for a government to deal with treatment than prevention.’”121/
While the most recent developments from UNAIDS were detailed earlier in this report, it is
helpful to look at what is being done on the regional level in Latin America to address the spread of
HIV/AIDS and women’s vulnerability to it.
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has made a concerted effort in the past
several years to address the epidemic in general. As part of the UNAIDS 3 by 5 Initiative,
PAHO/WHO provided financial and technical support to countries in Latin America and the
Caribbean for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. At the same time, in conjunction with this
program, it helped the region meet the goal of antiretrovirals for 600,000 set by the Summit of the
Americas in 2004. In fact, about 680,000 HIV positive individuals were treated with antiretrovirals.
Additionally, PAHO/WHO led the development of the Regional HIV/STI Plan for the Health Sector
2006-2015.122/ Financing for the initiative was also provided by the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA), the United Kingdom Department for International Development
(DIFID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Norwegian Agency for
International Development, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, and UNAIDS.123/
In its 2006 report, Toward Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Care, and Treatment: 3 by
5 Report for the Americas, PAHO contends that some countries in the region have made great strides
in access to treatment and prevention. However, many countries in the region lack resources and can
be overwhelmed with competing priorities. Moreover, many rely entirely on external funding for
HIV/AIDS programs. The authors of report then highlight the need for “close collaboration” at the
regional and international level.124/ Moreover, it places the onus on national leaders to “streamline
diverse agendas” in a world of many actors and resources.125/
Though the report is general in scope, it does discuss women’s vulnerabilities. Of particular
relevance is a project initiated in Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize that uses domestic violence
services to provide access to antiretrovirals and strengthen prevention efforts for women who have
survived sexual and domestic violence and to provide women with HIV with gender-based violence
services.126/ Also PAHO/WHO has gathered what data is available to determine if women are
receiving access to antiretroviral therapy. By comparing the percentage of those receiving
antiretrovirals who were women, and the percentage of those infected with HIV/AIDS, they were
able to better analyze women’s access to treatment. While a few of the countries reporting had an
equivalent or higher percentage of women receiving treatment, most did not, confirming women’s
vulnerability even after infection.127/ PAHO/WHO also finds that while access to prevention of
mother-to-child transmission has expanded, it is still inadequate.128/
The Summits of the Americas have also put forward mandates regarding HIV/AIDS. The
most recent and most pertinent of these are found in both The Declaration of Nuevo Leon of 2001
and the Declaration of Mar del Plata of 2006.129/ However, neither of these most recent declarations
recognizes a gender aspect of HIV/AIDS, nor do they specifically address the vulnerability of
- 17 -
UNAIDS is involved in the 3 by 5 initiative, but it also contributes to many programs in the
region that target the education, prevention and treatment of women. In Colombia UNAIDS was
involved in the National Initiative for the Reduction of Mother-to-Child Transmission, in gender and
HIV/AIDS programs in Honduras, and in Panama, the United Nations Theme group advocated
legislation to protect children and adolescents from sexual exploitation and criminalization of
violations of the integrity and sexual liberty of women.130/
Many NGOs are currently working in the areas of advocacy, education, prevention, and
treatment for women living with HIV/AIDS in Latin America. ICW Latina is one such organization.
It is the Latin American branch of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS.
ICW is run “by and for women living with HIV/AIDS,” and works to ensure that women have the
skills, knowledge, networks, and participation to cope with HIV/AIDS.131/ ICW Latina has organized
the first Congress of Latin American and Caribbean Women, Girls and Adolescents Living with
HIV/AIDS, which took place in Panama in 2005.132/
In 1990, both South Africa and Thailand had an adult HIV-prevalence of less than 1%.
Today Thailand has a rate of 1.4%, but South Africa’s has grown to 18.8%. 133/ In 2006 it was
estimated that 59% of those living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa are women.134/ Some
countries, such as Honduras, have already passed the 1% mark. This does not imply that Latin
America will follow the course of Sub-Saharan Africa, but as one researcher writes, we cannot
conclude that the region will not find itself faced with a similar crisis. There are many factors,
common to those who live in poverty in both Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America that are eerily
similar, and point to the possibility of a generalized epidemic.135/
Honduras is already experiencing just such an epidemic. Guatemala and El Salvador are
hovering on the brink of 1% prevalence of HIV.136/ If epidemics throughout Latin America become
generalized, there can be little doubt that a majority of the infections and a majority of the burden of
widespread disease will fall on women in. They are vulnerable biologically, socio-culturally, and
economically to the virus. They will be young wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, employees,
neighbors, and friends. If they fall ill, ramifications will be felt beyond the individual life, the
individual family, and even beyond their community. The consequences of a generalized AIDS
epidemic are tragic not just for these women, but for their families, their communities, their
countries, and the entire region.
APPENDIX 1: HIV/AIDS - A Primer
AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is cause by HIV, Human
Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a retrovirus, a small organism, invisible to the human eye that
attacks the ability of the human immune system to fight diseases. HIV destroys and impairs
individual cells, weakening the immune system and eventually making it “deficient.” This deficiency
leaves an infected person vulnerable to illnesses very rare in healthy people. AIDS is the name given
to the symptoms and infections suffered because of an immune system greatly weakened by immune
deficiency due to HIV. A person is said to have AIDS once a certain level of HIV is detected in his or
- 18 -
her body, and he or she is infected with certain illnesses that usually indicate the presence of the
There are four stages of infection. In Stage I, a person is infected with HIV, but is not
considered to have AIDS. He or she has no symptoms of illness. Nevertheless, they are still very
contagious and can pass HIV to others. In Stage II, an infected person begins to have some symptoms
such as respiratory infections. In Stage III he or she suffers from unexplained chronic diarrhea,
severe bacterial infections, and tuberculosis. Alternatively, a person could undergo Stage IV,
succumbing to opportunistic infections and cancers easily treated in people with healthy immune
HIV is usually passed from person to person in one of four ways: sexual intercourse, sharing
of syringes and needles, from mother to child, or through contaminated blood products. HIV can be
transmitted via blood transfusion with a 90% chance of infection of the recipient if the blood indeed
contains HIV. HIV can also be passed from a mother to her child either during pregnancy, labor,
delivery, or breastfeeding. Reusing needles or syringes spreads HIV from one person to another very
effectively. HIV is transmitted through unprotected heterosexual and homosexual sex. Ninety-percent
of HIV cases are transmitted via unprotected sex. Of these transmissions, 60-70% occurs between
HIV cannot be spread by insect bites, sharing drinking glasses, hugging, shaking hands, or
use of the same toilets. One cannot become infected by being around an HIV positive person who is
coughing or sneezing.140/
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. It is fatal. There are, however, two ways to treat the disease,
and prolong the lives of those infected. The first is to use common drugs, like antibiotics, to treat
opportunistic infections due to a weakened immune system. The second is to attack HIV directly
using antiretroviral drugs, or antiretrovirals. By hindering HIV’s ability to make more copies of itself
inside the body, antiretroviral therapy has been credited with allowing people who were on the verge
of death to reclaim their lives. There are drawbacks, however. To be effective, antiretrovirals must be
taken in groups of three, the so-called “triple cocktail,” and according to a very strict schedule and
dietary regimen to keep the virus from mutating, or changing, into a form that can resist the drugs.
These medications can have serious, often painful side effects. Antiretrovirals are expensive, and not
widely available outside the developed world. Moreover, at some point, HIV in patients receiving
therapy does mutate, becoming resistant even to the triple cocktail.141/
APPENDIX 2: Recent Advances in Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS - Microbicides
Condoms are effective in preventing HIV/AIDS. However, men have the choice of whether
or not to use a condom.142/ As the WHO acknowledges, HIV/AIDS continues to spread around the
globe despite the fact that condom use, the reduction of number of sexual partners, and the diagnosis
and treatment of STIs are all known to prevent the disease. Moreover, the most alarming increases in
rate of infection are among women in developing countries.143/
Microbicides are gels, creams, films or suppositories that can be applied inside the vagina or
rectum to prevent STIs including HIV/AIDS. They can be spermicidal and hence act as a
- 19 -
contraceptive, or they can only prevent sexually transmitted infections. Some provide a physical
barrier that prevents HIV/AIDS from reaching cells and others work by lowering vaginal pH,
creating a highly acidic environment.144/ Sixteen microbicides are being tested in humans, and five of
them are in the most advanced stages of testing.145/
Microbicides are very promising in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to the WHO,
because they place the control over prevention in the hands of the women who are most vulnerable to
the virus. Both male and female condoms require the consent of the husband or partner. Microbicides
do not require the consent or even the knowledge of anyone other than the person using them.146/
APPENDIX 3: Geography of HIV/AIDS in Latin America
Figure 1: HIV Prevalence (%) in Adults in Latin America and the Caribbean, UNAIDS
*Source: Copied from UNAIDS 2006, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic,
Figure 2: Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Who Are Women (%) in Latin America and the Caribbean
*Source Data: UNAIDS 2006, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, map outline from worldatlas.com,
percentages calculated and graphic designed by the author.
1. MMWR Weekly, 1981 “Opportunistic infections and Kaposi's Sarcoma among Haitians
in the United States,” MMWR Weekly, 9 and 31 July 1981, 353-4,360-1 qtd. in AVERT, “The
History of AIDS,” 2006, http://www.avert.org/his81_86.htm (23 June 2006).
2. MMWR Weekly, 1982,“Epidemiologic notes and Reports Pneumocystis carinii
Pneumonia among persons with hemophilia A,” MMWR Weekly, 16 and 31 July 1982, 365-367
qtd. in AVERT, “The History of AIDS,” 2006, http://www.avert.org/his81_86.htm (23 June 2006).
3. D Serwadda, RD Mugerwa, and NK Sewankambo, et al, 1985, “Slim Disease: A New
Disease in Uganda and its association with HTLV-III infection,” 1985, The Lancet, 2, 849-52, qtd.
in AVERT, “The History of AIDS,” 2006, http://www.avert.org/his81_86.htm (23 June 2006).
4. UNAIDS, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, May 2006, 2,
http://www.unaids.org/en/HIV_data/2006GlobalReport/default.asp (21 June 2006).
5. MMWR Weekly, 1983, “'Epidemiologic notes and reports immunodeficiency among
female sexual partners of males with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - New York,”
MMWR Weekly, 7 and 31 January 1983, 697-698 qtd. in AVERT, “The History of AIDS,” 2006,
http://www.avert.org/his81_86.htm (23 June 2006).
6. UNAIDS, “UNAIDS Fact Sheet: Global Facts and Figures,” 18 May 2006, 1,
http://data.unaids.org/pub/GlobalReport/2006/200605-FS_globalfactsfigures_en.pdf (23 June 2006).
7. UNAIDS, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic. May 2006 qtd. in AVERT,
“Worldwide HIV&AIDS Epidemic and Statistics,” 2006, http://www.avert.org/worlstatinfo.htm (29
8. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 2.
9. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 2.
10. United Nations General Assembly, “Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS,” 25-
27 June 2001, http://data.unaids.org/publications/irc-pub03/aidsdeclaration_en.pdf (21 June 2006).
11. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 3-5.
12. UNAIDS Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, 2006, Keeping the Promise: An
Agenda for Action on Women and AIDS, 2006, 5,
http://data.unaids.org/pub/FactSheet/2006/20060530_FS_Keeping_Promise_en.pdf (26 June 2006).
13. UNAIDS, 2006, “Press Release: Global Coalition on Women and AIDS sets Agenda
for Action at High Level Meeting on AIDS,” 1 June 2006, 1,
14/ Frontline, 2006,“The Age of Aids: Timeline,” 2006,
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/cron/crontext.html (29 June 2006)
15. UNAIDS and WHO, 2001, AIDS Epidemic Update, qtd. in Rao Gupta, Geeta, 2002,
“Vulnerability and Resilience: Gender and HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Carribean,” Working
Paper, Inter-American Development Bank, August 2002,
http://www.iadb.org/sds/doc/Vulnerability.pdf (22 June 2006).
17. PAHO, 2005, Regional HIV/STI Plan for the Health Sector: 2006-20015, November
(29 June 2005), 14.
18. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 37
20. The World Bank, Human Development Sector Management Unit, 2000, HIV/AIDS in
the Caribbean: Issues and Options, June 2000,
9ca02a3f6885256905007be3d0/$FILE/HIVAIDSCaribbean.pdf (6 July 2006) vi.
21. Ibid, vi.
22. PAHO, 2005, Regional HIV/STI Plan for the Health Sector, November 2005, 14.
23. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 41-42.
24. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 44.
25. The World Bank, 2000, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, vi.
26. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 38.
27. The World Bank, 2000, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, vi.
28. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 38.
29. Ibid, 38.
30. Ibid, 39.
31. Jon Cohen, 2006, “Dominican Republic: A Sour Taste on the Sugar Plantations,”
Science 28 July 2006, 313:5786, 473-475, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5786/473
(7 August 2006).
32. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 39.
33. Anabela Garcia Abreu, Isabel Noguer, and Karen Cowgill, 2003, HIV/AIDS in Latin
American Countries: The Challenges Ahead, The World Bank, 2003,
12e8a00fa385256de1005402f0/$FILE/AIDS%20in%20LAC%20exec%20summary.pdf (5 July
34. Ibid, xix.
35. Jon Cohen, “Argentina: Up In Smoke Epidemic Changes Course,” Science 28 July
2006, 313: 5786, 487-488, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5786/487 (7 August
36. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 41-42.
37. The World Bank, 2000, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, vi.
38. Ibid, vi.
39. UNAIDS, 2006, Report, 43-44.
40. Ibid, 43-44.
41. Jon Cohen, 2006, “Honduras: Why so High? A Knotty Story,” Science 28 July 2006,
313:5786, 481-483, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5786/481 (7 August 2006)
42. UNAIDS, 2006 Report, 43-44.
43. Jon Cohen, 2006, “Guatemala: Struggling to Deliver on Promises and Assess HIV’s
Spread,” Science 28 July 2006, 313: 5786, 480-481,
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5786/480 (7 August 2006).
44. UNAIDS, 2006, Report, 43-44.
45. PAHO, 2005, Regional HIV/STI Plan for the Health Sector, 18-20.
46. UNAIDS, 2006 Report 8.
47. UNAIDS, 2001, AIDS Epidemic Update qtd. in Rao Gupta, 2002, “Vulnerability and
48. UNAIDS, 2006, Report, 43-44
49. USAID, 2004, “Health Profile: Nicaragua, HIV/AIDS,”
http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/aids/Countries/lac/nicaragua_04.pdf (7 August
50. UNAIDS, 2000, Gender and AIDS Almanac, 21.
51. Rao Gupta, 2002, “Vulnerability and Resilience,” 1.
52. UNAIDS, 1999, AIDS - 5 years since ICPD, and WHO, 2000 Women and HIV/AIDS,
WHO Fact sheet 242 qtd. in Pan-American Health Organization, Women, Health, and Development
Program, “Gender and HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet,” September, 2004
http://www.paho.org/English/AD/GE/GenderandHIVFactSheetI.pdf (10 July 2006)
53. UNAIDS, 2000, Gender and AIDS Almanac, 2.
54. Ibid, 2-3.
55. Hilary Anderson, Karen Marcovici and Kathleen Taylor, 2002, “The UNGASS,
Gender and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Latin American and the Carribean,” Pan-
American Health Organization, December 2002, 9 ,
http://www.paho.org/English/AD/GE/GenderandHIV-revised0904.pdf (22 June 2006)
56. Anderson, Marcovi and Taylor, 2002, “The UNGASS, Gender and Women’s
Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Latin American and the Carribean,” 9.
57. UNAIDS, 2000, Gender and AIDS Almanac, 2-3.
58. WHO, 1998, Gender and Health: A Technical Paper qtd. in Anderson, Marcovi and
Taylor, 2002,“The UNGASS, Gender and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Latin American
and the Carribean,” 9.
59. PAHO, 2000, Promotion of Sexual Health: Recommendations for Action qtd. in
Anderson, Marcovi and Taylor, 2002, “The UNGASS, Gender and Women’s Vulnerability to
HIV/AIDS in Latin American and the Carribean,”7.
60. Geeta Rao Gupta, 2000, Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS: The What, the Why and
the How, Plenary Address XIIIth International AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa, 12 July
2000 qtd. in Rao Gupta, 2002,“Vulnerability and Resilience,” 2.
61. Rosa Maria Gil and Carmen Inoa Vasquez, 1996, The Maria Paradox: How Latinas
Can Merge Old World Traditions with New World Self Esteem, New York: GP Putnam’s Sons qtd.
in B. Ortiz-Torres et. al, 2000, “Subversing Culture: Promoting HIV prevention among Puerto Rican
and Dominican Women, American Journal of Community Psychology 28(6), 859-861 qtd. in Rao
Gupta, 2002,“Vulnerability and Resilience,” 2.
62. Joseph Carrier, 1995, De Los Otros New York: Columbia UP qtd. in B. Ortiz Torres et
al, 2000, Subversing Culture” qtd. in Rao Gupta, 2002,“Vulnerability and Resilience,” 2.
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127. Ibid, 20.
128. Ibid, 32.
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