HIV Prevention For Women
HIV Prevention For Women
Charles Farthing (Chief of Medicine, AIDS Healthcare Foundation) gives expert video advice on: Are women at a higher risk for HIV than men?; What infections are HIV positive women susceptible to? and more...
Are women at a higher risk for HIV than men?
In some ways, women are at a higher risk for HIV than men. I don't think that's so much biological as cultural. For example, in South Africa many more women are infected than men because men take young women for their wives or their girlfriends. Men are multi-partnered and so they spread it very rapidly to many women. In that way I think women are more at risk of HIV. From the point of view of simply acquiring it during a single act of intercourse, I doubt that women are at significantly more risk than men.
Are homosexual women at a higher risk for HIV than heterosexual women?
Homosexual women are probably at a lower risk of catching HIV than heterosexual women because they are obviously not exposed to men's semen. If two women were having intercourse and one was HIV-positive and one HIV-negative and they were to use sex toys and exchange genital secretions, it is possible that one woman might infect another with HIV.
Is it more difficult for a woman to protect herself against HIV than a man?
It is more difficult for women to protect themselves from HIV than men because they have to rely on the man wearing the condom. So it's harder for women to do that, it's not within their own decision. Women can ask, and in many places men are not cooperative. But women do have other things they can use to protect themselves from HIV. There is the female condom, but unfortunately, the female condom is more expensive, it's less available and so women in many places don't have access to that. So it is harder for women to protect themselves from HIV.
If my partner will not use a latex condom is there anything I can do to prevent the risk of HIV?
If a woman's partner will not wear a condom and she knows him to be HIV positive or she suspects him to be HIV positive really the only way she can protect herself from HIV infection is by using the female condom or by refusing to have intercourse with the man.
What infections are HIV positive women susceptible to?
When men and women get HIV, there's not much difference in the diseases that the man will suffer from those the women will suffer. There are a few differences, just by the anatomy of the woman. Vaginal thrush might be much more common in an HIV positive woman; it's a common disease anyhow, and HIV would make thrush worse for a woman. And women have a higher incidence of cervical cancer if they're HIV-positive, and men can't have that because they don't have a cervix. But otherwise, HIV related infections are very similar in men and in women.