In the U.S., 25% of individuals living with HIV are females age 13 or older. Of that number, only about half are receiving treatment.

The leading cause of HIV in women and girls is heterosexual intercourse, while IV drug use is a close second. Empowering women and girls to make the best decisions and negotiate safer sex is critical to eliminating the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Learn more about HIV/AIDS basics.



Young girls without the proper sex education are less inclined to understand the full consequences of sexual intercourse and more inclined to engage in risky behavior.

Sexual abuse

Women are more likely to experience sexual abuse than men. Victims of sexual abuse often engage in high-risk sexual behaviors or abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

Lack of prevention resources

Some HIV resources may not take into account the specific needs of female populations, leaving them under-served.


Negative, misogynistic attitudes toward women and girls regarding sex may cause them to be less inclined to speak up about their experiences or take preventive measures.


The female anatomy makes it twice as easy to contract HIV than the male anatomy.

Intimate partner violence (IPV)

Compared to men, women are less likely to have control in a relationshp. As such, they may fear abuse, stigma, or abandonment when trying to prevent HIV.


Women and girls can pass HIV to their children during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.

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