On December 1, 2004, World AIDS Day will focus on women and girls, who are 2.5 times more likely than men and boys to be infected with HIV. Women’s greater susceptibility to infection stems from many causes, including inadequate knowledge and information, insufficient access to preventive services, and sexual coercion and violence.

Reproductive health providers already offer a wide range of services to millions of women and are increasingly expanding their outreach to adolescents. Yet their current and potential role as front-line providers of HIV prevention services is largely untapped. With adequate resources, providers could better deliver critical services, including:

  • HIV counseling and testing and condom promotion within family planning settings, where many women and adolescents are already comfortable;
  • prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections that would increase the risk of HIV transmission; and
  • assistance to HIV-positive women for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, thus reducing the chances of transmission to infants.

To learn more about the role of reproductive health providers in preventing HIV, click here.