Gendered epidemiology: Sexual equality and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa
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Objectives. Given that HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is largely spread through heterosexual contact, there is marked variation in levels of gender equity across sub-Saharan African countries, and levels of gender equity are likely to influence both exposure to sexual practices that increase the likelihood of exposure to HIV and the efficacy of prevention programs, we hypothesize that levels of gender equity account for the levels of and changes in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS across sub-Saharan African countries. Methods. We explore this hypothesis by first discussing the role of gender and several other contextual variables in the spread of HIV/AIDS. The resulting model is tested with regression analyses of both the level and change of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan African. Result. We find strong support for our hypothesis. Conclusion. This suggests that further policy attention be given to gender equity in combating HIV/AIDS.