HIV/AIDS is the top cause of death and disease among women and girls, says the UNAids program, which yesterday launched a 5-year plan to tackle the problems that put women especially at risk from the disease. Part of the problem is that up to 70% of women worldwide have been forced to have unprotected sex, the BBC reports. Violence against women, "(robs) them of their dignity," says the agency's director, resulting in the loss of "the driving force that brings about social transformation."
In southern Africa, young women are three times as likely as young men to be infected with HIV, and the majority of those living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. The UN will roll out HIV prevention programs that deal with violence against women in Liberia and other high-risk countries.