The devastating epidemic of HIV/AIDS is largely unknown for what it truly is: those targeted most by this immune-system destroying disease are the socioeconomically disadvantaged, or, in Global Health terms, the "poor." (This is why we move out in love.)
LoveAIDS Research Report:
Committed to Educating Our Partners & Public: Please take advantage of our newly releasedresearch report on the relationship between socioeconomic disadvantage and increased HIV infection risk. "Economics and Illness: the HIV/AIDS - Link of Being Socioeconomically Disadvantaged" by Ingrid Anne Stavrica
Photo from the Field: An Ebais, which is a community health center, in one of the more socioeconomically disadvantaged neghborhoods of San Jose, inland Costa Rica
Globally, the socioeconomically disadvantaged are those who are more likely to:
not have enough food to eat,
struggle to maintain adequate housing,
have their lives and safety endangered on a regular basis,
be forced into relationships they don't want,
sell their bodies out of economic desperation,
become infected with tuberculosis, hepatitis and other infectious diseases,
become infected with HIV,
struggle to access the resources to get tested for HIV (40% of HIV positive people do not know they are infected,) and
have children who are HIV positive (1.8 million children are currently infected with HIV.)
Globally, women aged 15 years and older comprise almost half (16 million out of 36.7 million) of those living with HIV.
There are about 380,000 new HIV infections among young women aged 15-24 every year.
In 2013, almost 60% of all new HIV infections among young people occurred among adolescent girls and young women.
Globablly, 15% of women living with HIV are aged 15-25.
Gender inequalities and gender-based violence prevent adolescent girls and young women from being able to protect themselves against HIV.
In some settings, up to 45% of adolescent girls report that their first sexual experience was forced. Numerous studies demonstrate that partner violence increases the risk of HIV infection.
Young women who experience intimate partner violence are 50% more likely to acquire HIV than women who have not.
The #1 reason adolescent girls and young women acquire HIV is because of gender-based violence.
Adolescent girls and young women are often not able to access treatment before the disease develops into AIDS.
Two common infection routes:
A socioeconomically disadvantaged sexually faithful adult female receives HIV from her partner or spouse. This is often characterized by a partner who travels daily/weekly for work (i.e. a truck driver) or who migrates for work and is gone for weeks at a time (manual labor,) or by the female herself suspecting infidelity or drug abuse but staying with the partner out of financial need.
An adult female turns to sex work because she feels she has no other financial options and is desperate. The HIV prevalence among sex workers is 12 times greater than among the general population
Boys & Men
1.8 million children are currently infected with HIV. Many of those are boys who are receive HIV through the birth process.
Socioeconomically disadvantaged boys and men grow up in and live in communities with excessive drug use, high rates of domestic violence, lack of a stable father structure, and lack of needed resources to achieve a different lifestyle. Drug use as a coping mechanism and risky sexual practices become the norm.
Thrown out on the street and with no other foreseeable options, many adolescent boys and young men turn to sex work to survive.
The lack of financial resources to purchase condoms, the lack of availability of condoms themselves, and the lack of education on HIV prevention puts men who have sex with men in increased risk of HIV infection.
Men travel for work and are away from home for extended periods of time. With little or no education about HIV, they engage in risky sexual practices.
Data is from: The UNAIDS Gap Report 2013 Ethnographies and field reserach by Joao Biehl, Medical Anthropologist, Princeton University Field research by Paul Farmer, Medical Doctor of Infectious Disease & Medical Athropologist, Harvard University, and Numerous academic research journal reports.
Data corresponds with LoveAIDS fieldwork observations with current patient populations in Latin America.