- UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Violence against women is helping to spread the virus
that causes AIDS, U.N. officials said Wednesday in events leading up to
next week's commemoration of International Women's Day.
- Marital abuse, sexual coercion, rape
and the trafficking of women and children are forms of violence that lead
directly to HIV infection, experts told the U.N. Commission on the Status
- ``For millions of girls and women worldwide,
it is clear that violence, AIDS and human rights abuses are experienced
as three strands of the same traumatic reality,'' said Peter Piot, executive
director of the joint U.N. program on HIV/AIDS, known as UNAIDS.
- Piot also said the subordinate position
of women in many societies makes it ``difficult if not impossible'' to
protect themselves from HIV.
- ``They often cannot insist on fidelity,
demand condom use, or refuse sex to their partner, even when they suspect
or know that he is already infected himself,'' he said. ``And they often
lack the economic power to remove themselves from relationships that carry
major risks of HIV infection.''
- Violence against girls and women throughout
the world causes more death and disability among females between the ages
of 15 and 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and even war, according
to the World Health Organization.