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U.N.: ABCs of HIV Prevention Failing Women

Education, Economic Equality Are Key, Says United Nations

Economic Security as Prevention continued...

"Economic insecurity and dependency make it more likely that women will sell or exchange sex for money, goods, or favors and less likely that they will be able to negotiate safer sex with a partner," Gupta says.

In an editorial Wednesday, The Washington Post criticized UNAIDS for its recent focus on women, saying that programs in poor nations should continue to target specific populations at highest risk for catching and spreading HIV, including sex workers, truck drivers, and men who have sex with men.

"A sex worker, for instance, can infect hundreds of people in the course of a month; targeting a prevention message at that worker is vastly more effective than targeting it at a faithful teenage bride, however awful her predicament," the paper writes.

Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, tells WebMD that the fund hopes to expand funding to women's organizations and others focusing on preventing infections in women and girls.

But expanding other education or property rights in an effort to reduce women's overall vulnerability would probably have to be left to others, he suggests.

Gupta says President George Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- set to send some $2.6 billion to overseas ABC programs this year -- should link its donations to other U.S. programs promoting economic development, education, and employment for women.

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