BY Christopher Mangum

November 11 2009 1:35 PM ET

The World Health Organization has released its first study on women’s health worldwide. The United Nations agency found that the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44 is HIV/AIDS.

According to the report, “Girls and women are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection due to combinations of biological factors and gender-based inequities, particularly in cultures that limit women’s knowledge about HIV and their ability to protect themselves and negotiate safer sex.”

The prevalence of HIV infection in women globally has increased since the 1990s, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa

The leading risk factor for HIV infection is unprotected sex, and in order to see a substantive reduction in infections steps need to be taken to inform women about contraception, reduce the stigma surrounding its use, and mitigate sexual violence against women.

WHO’s report made no explicit mention of health concerns for women in the LGBT community.

Tags: Health

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