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close this bookYoung Women: Silence, Suspectibility and the HIV Epidemic (UNDP, 10 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGender as an independent variable for hiv infection
View the documentSilence
View the documentAge as an independent variable for hiv infection
View the documentAnatomy as destiny?
View the documentSituational factors
View the documentThe unheard scream
View the documentThe prophetic voice
View the documentAn action agenda
View the documentBreaking the silence
View the documentChanging the operational research agenda
View the documentSanctuaries
View the documentSanctions
View the documentSafety
View the documentRestructuring gender
View the documentThe circle of the dance
View the documentReferences

Situational factors

The influence on vulnerability to infection of these biologically based differences may be amplified by the circumstances and situations in which young women have sexual intercourse.

Non-consensual, hurried or frequent intercourse may inhibit mucous production and the relaxation of the vaginal musculature both of which would increase the likelihood of genital trauma. A lack of control over the circumstances in which intercourse occurs may increase the frequency of intercourse and lower the age at which sexual activity begins. A lack of access to acceptable health services may leave infections and lesions untreated. Malnutrition not only inhibits the production of mucus but also slows the healing process and depresses the immune system30. Cultural norms may favour early pregnancy, discourage the use of condoms or facilitate intercourse with older men who are more likely to be infected.