Salim S. Abdool Karim

Salim S. Abdool Karim is Director, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, and Professor in Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, USA.

HIV/AIDS is particularly severe in Africa, where women bear a disproportionate burden of the epidemic. One of the most crucial challenges in HIV prevention in Africa is to reduce the high infection rates among young women. Worldwide, just over half of all people living with HIV are women, and 70-90 per cent of all HIV infections among women are through heterosexual intercourse.1 In sub-Saharan Africa, women aged fifteen- to twenty-four years with HIV represent 76 per cent of the total cases in that age group, outnumbering their male peers by as much as eight to one.1 Although the majority of new HIV cases in the United States are through male-to-male sexual contact, heterosexual contact accounts for 84 per cent of new infections among women.