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HIV Protection for Women Focus of New U.N. Plan

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Even though HIV/AIDS is the top cause of death and disease among women of reproductive age worldwide, HIV services don't respond to the specific needs of girls and women, says the United Nations program on HIV/AIDS.

A new five-year action plan to address gender issues that put women at risk was announced by UNAIDS at the start of a 10-day conference in New York City, BBC News reported.

In sub-Saharan Africa, women account for 60 percent of people living with HIV. In Southern Africa, young women are about three times more likely to be infected with HIV than young men.

UNAIDS says a major issue is that up to 70 percent of women worldwide have been forced to have unprotected sex, BBC News reported.

The new program aims to improve understanding of how women are affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and will seek to ensure that the issue of violence against women is included in HIV prevention programs.

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