In 1989, international public health professional Kathryn Carovano took a trip to Lima, Peru to spread awareness of AIDS and HIV prevention.* She worked with a group that explained the ways in which women can prevent disease through contraception and nonpenetrative sex. During her stay, she was told the following story by a local health educator:
We had just finished a health promotion program with a group of women and we asked them to fill out an evaluation form. One of the women who was very good during the training was taking a long time to finish the questionnaire, so I asked her if she was having trouble with it. She told me that she was having a hard time reading it, so I asked her if maybe she needed to use glasses. She said yes, that she had had her eyes tested 10 years ago, and the doctor prescribed glasses for her. She had bought a pair but lost them a few months later. To explain why she had never gotten a new pair she said, “My husband told me that I was so stupid that he would never buy me another pair of glasses.” So just imagine this woman asking her husband to use a condom or consider having nonpenetrative sex.
This story serves to highlight the role that women’s agency has in HIV/AIDS prevention. According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of AIDS cases in America totaled 1,009,220 in 2007. Approximately 810,676 of these cases were male and 198,544 cases were female. This means that the vast majority of AIDS sufferers are male.
There is not high risk of contracting HIV through woman-to-woman sex. According to AVERT.com, "very few women have been known to pass HIV on to other women sexually, though it is theoretically possible if infected vaginal fluids or blood from an HIV positive partner enter the other woman's vagina (perhaps on fingers or sex toys)."
It can, therefore, be concluded that women are much more likely to be infected with AIDS by a man, rather than a woman. This means that a woman’s likelihood of being transmitted with HIV is directly affected by two factors:
1) Her basic knowledge of the measures and practices necessary to prevent HIV