Many countries in the world have shown great improvement in the rates of HIV among young women. Most of these countries have reported low rates of HIV among young women as compared to their male counterparts.
Why is the prevalence of HIV low among young women in these countries?
The majority of the countries that reported low rates of HIV among young women are from Asia and include Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Malaysia. Compared to their male counterparts and even other age groups, young women have experienced low rates of HIV infections. In these countries, the prevalence is as low as 0.1%. A lot of factors have been attributed to the low spread of HIV among this group of individuals. These are some of the contributing factors.
Religion and Cultural Behavior
Religion and culture have played a role in the low rates of HIV infection in some countries. For example, in Muslim countries like Kazakhstan and Afghanistan, virginity among young women is placed in high regards. Among all of the sins someone in these countries can commit, loosing virginity is among the worst. It is considered a sin for any adult woman to engage in premarital sex. Punishment for the loss of virginity before marriage is stoning. The fear that has been instilled in women due to the religious and cultural beliefs has lead to a low rate of HIV among young women.
Levels of Drug Use
The spread of HIV among drug addicts is high compared to those who do not take drugs. This is due to the impairment of judgement that occurs when an individual takes drugs, or the transmission through contaminated drug needles. In Kazakhstan, a high number of infections were reported among drug users who shared injection needles. Of this group of people that use drugs, the majority are young men compared to their female counterparts. Low drug use among women in Asian countries has contributed to the low HIV rates.
It is evident from the above discussion that adolescent men are at a higher risk of HIV infection than their female counterparts. Sexual behavior, culture, and the use of drugs have played a significant role in the difference in the spread of HIV. The governments of these countries are now turning their attention to bringing the HIV rates down among men.