- Heterosexual sex puts women at risk for HIV. It is important to know a male partner's HIV status and insist upon condom use during sexual encounters.
- Unprotected vaginal sex puts women at risk for HIV, and unprotected anal sex places women at an even greater risk for HIV transmission.
- Women who have experienced sexual abuse may use drugs as a coping mechanism, find it difficult to refuse unwanted sex, exchange sex for drugs or engage in risky sexual behaviors, all of which increase HIV transmission risk.
- Sharing equipment contaminated with HIV to inject drugs and other substances increases HIV risk. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also lead to high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex.
- Having a sexually transmitted disease greatly increases the chances of HIV. Women of color are at even greater risk due to higher rates of gonorrhea and syphilis compared to white women.
- Social determinants of health like poverty or limited access to high-quality health care; the exchange of sex for drugs, money or to meet other needs; and higher levels of substance use can increase HIV risk.
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Here are some factors that put women at risk for HIV.