A new report from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa reports that 16.9 percent of young women in 2005 were infected with HIV/AIDS, a jump from a rate of 12 percent in 2002. Women between the ages of 15 and 24 are four times more likely than men of the same age to contract HIV/AIDS, despite an overall drop in prevalence of the disease.
One reason for the particular vulnerability of young women is that they are more likely to have partners who are at least five years older. Older men have a higher rate of infection than do younger men. The rate of infection is also higher for those living in what the report calls “informal settlements” and rural areas. The HRSC recommends the creation of programs to deal with the particular vulnerability of women, especially young women, citing, in particular, statutory rape and migration as problems to be addressed.
IRIN News reports that another survey is planned for 2008.