AIDS: More women than men infected with HIV

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Over half of those infected with HIV are women

Worldwide, more women than men are infected with HIV. Scientists are calling for gender-specific AIDS research. More than half of all people infected with HIV are women: around 22.5 million people worldwide suffer from the immunodeficiency disorder AIDS. More than half of those affected are women and girls. That is why it is important to intensify “women-specific” HIV research, as a spokesman for the German competence network HIV / AIDS demanded on the occasion of the upcoming World AIDS Day.

December 1st 2010 is World AIDS Day. Almost 23 million people are currently infected with the HI virus worldwide. More than half of all sick and infected are girls and women. In this context, Norbert Brockmeyer urged the HIV / AIDS competence network in Bochum on Monday to urgently pursue "intensified women-specific HIV research". Women are much more likely to contract the previously incurable virus than men. According to the scientific network of competencies, the risk of infection is far higher worldwide than for men for social and anatomical reasons.

However, there are clear differences in the gender-specific distribution of infections in a global comparison. In Germany and the other western industrialized nations, men are primarily infected with the AIDS-causing virus. According to the latest surveys, 80 percent of those affected are men. In sub-Saharan Africa, women are up to eight times more likely to be infected than men.

The German competence network is currently dealing specifically with pregnant HIV-infected patients. An essential aspect of the research work is whether medical HIV treatment can be optimized on a gender-specific basis. Some research suggests that there may be differences in the therapeutic effects between men and women. The Competence Network HIV / AIDS (KompNet HIV / AIDS) is one of 18 competence networks in medicine that are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

According to current information from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 70,000 people in Germany live with the HI virus or with the immunodeficiency disease AIDS. In 2010, around 3,000 people were newly infected with the deadly virus. The new infection rate is currently stagnating, as the numbers remained identical to those of previous years.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Aids-Hilfe warned of further austerity measures for counseling services for those affected. In the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia there are indications that the state governments want to provide less financial resources. These cuts could mean that numerous advice centers would have to close. A spokesman said: "If the current benefits are further reduced, AIDS counseling in some districts will probably no longer be possible in the future." Such reductions could significantly reduce previous successes in the fight against AIDS. (sb, Nov 29, 2010)

Also read:
AIDS: drug is said to protect against HIV infection
70,000 people in Germany suffer from AIDS
Precursors of the AIDS virus tens of thousands of years old
AIDS: SI virus is considered a precursor to HIV
Why some do not get AIDS despite HIV
World AIDS Day: more solidarity required
AIDS: no fate with correct antibodies?

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