Early into the third decade of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the virus continues
to expand its reach across the globe. Not only is the pandemic affecting ever
greater numbers of people—an estimated 42 million are now infected worldwide—it
is also evolving such that for the first time since the disease emerged in
the early 1980s, about half the people living with HIV are now women.
As United Nations officials indicated in their annual report on the
pandemic, nearly half of the 4.2 million newly infected adults were women,
and a disproportionate number of the 800 000 newly infected persons younger
than 15 years were female .
Stephenson J. Growing, Evolving HIV/AIDS Pandemic Is Producing Social and Economic
Fallout. JAMA. 2003;289(1):31-33. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.31