Although the U.S. has made progress in identifying and treating HIV and the late symptoms of the infection, AIDS, women are a growing risk group that suffer from the illness and face barriers in seeking and receiving care. Recent studies have shown that violence against women – specifically violence at the hands of an intimate partner – may be an important cause of this gender-based disparity in care for people with HIV/AIDS.
In 2013, out of more than 47,000 newly HIV-positive individuals in the U.S., nearly 20 percent were women, with 86.6 percent of their infections coming from heterosexual contact. Those from minority backgrounds were disproportionately affected, with close to 6,000 new diagnoses in African American women and 1,400 in Hispanic/Latinas. And while the number of women with HIV/AIDS is growing, only 45 percent of women living with HIV are engaged in care, and even fewer, 32 percent, have the virus under control.