Thu, Nov 30, 2017 - Page 3 News List

AIDS death rate higher among women: group

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The death rate from AIDS among Taiwanese women is 1.4 times that for men, the Taiwan Lourdes Association said yesterday, citing women’s lower awareness of the risk of HIV/AIDS infection as the main reason.

The association, a nonprofit dedicated to providing assistance and services for people living with HIV/AIDS, yesterday held a news conference in Taipei to raise public awareness about women with HIV/AIDS ahead of World AIDS Day, which takes place on the Dec. 1 each year.

Although the majority of HIV/AIDS cases reported in Taiwan are associated with unprotected sexual intercourse among men and their male partners, transmission through heterosexual intercourse also plays an important role, it said.

Between 1984 and last month, 33,585 HIV/AIDS infection cases were reported in men and 1,996 cases were reported in women, with the death rate at 16.2 percent (5,450 cases) for men and 22.9 percent (458 cases) for women, Centers for Disease Control statistics showed.

Taiwan AIDS Society president Lin Hsi-hsun (林錫勳), a physician at Kaohsiung’s E-Da Hospital, said women in general are less aware about HIV/AIDS, so more women have been diagnosed after the onset of AIDS than men.

One woman, identified by the pseudonym Annie, was diagnosed with HIV 16 years ago while she was pregnant and later learned that the virus was transmitted by her husband, who was infected after having sexual intercourse with other women, the association said.

After enduring social pressure and receiving treatment for many years, Annie’s marriage ended in divorce, it added.

Some female patients are not aware of the risk of AIDS, because they have only had one, or very few, sexual partners in their lives, but anyone who has had unprotected sexual intercourse is at risk of infection, Lin said, adding that early diagnosis and treatment makes controlling the infection more effective.

Association secretary-general Paul Hsu (徐森杰) cited a study that found about 90 percent of men in Taiwan diagnosed with HIV/AIDS have received treatment, but only about 70 percent of women have received treatment.

That might indicate that women are less willing to be identified and treated due to the stereotype that women with HIV/AIDS are sexually promiscuous, Hsu said.

Hsu urged people who have participated in unprotected sex, regardless of gender, to be regularly tested for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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