Since the outbreak of HIV and AIDS in the early 1980s, increasing numbers of women are becoming infected with the disease through heterosexual sex.
This is particularly true in Africa and Southeast Asia, where women make up 41% of all newly-reported AIDS cases. In the U.S., AIDS is the fourth-leading cause of death for women between the ages of 25 and 44. The majority of these women were infected by heterosexual sex with male drug users. Since1985, the percentage of women with AIDS in the U.S. has increased from 7% to 22%.
Many women are infected via several methods of transmission — mainly unprotected sex and intravenous drug use. This disease is spread further because many women have sexual relations with several partners and engage in riskier forms of sexual behavior. In addition, younger women under the age of 25 tend to have more difficulty getting their partners to wear condoms or to practice other forms of safe sex.