Highlighting gender-based differences

Today, women make up more than half (52%) of all people living with HIV worldwide,1 with HIV and AIDS now the leading cause of death globally for women aged 15 - 44.2

While viral suppression and quality of life (QoL) are common goals for all people living with HIV, the challenges that women living with HIV face are often different to men.

The report results shine a light on some of the gender-based differences with the aim of improving the long-term health and wellbeing of women living with HIV.

Marvelous discusses some of the different challenges faced by women living with HIV

Key findings

Women living with HIV face different challenges to men living with HIV and it is important that these are addressed to help improve health outcomes.

Open discussions with healthcare teams regarding treatment, mental health, pregnancy and sexual intimacy can help women living with HIV to feel empowered and get the answers they need to help them live well with HIV.

Study results

Comparing the experience of men and women living with HIV

Overall, the women living with HIV who participated in the study had significantly poorer health compared with men living with HIV:3

Rate their health as poor3

Did not say they were virally suppressed3

Report experiencing treatment side effects from their antiretroviral treatment (ART)3





*Total number of participants is 2,112 as the figures were calculated before the inclusion of additional data from Russia and South Africa.

Barriers to managing care

Despite over two-thirds desiring greater involvement in their care,3 a significantly higher proportion of women living with HIV were uncomfortable discussing treatment issues with HCPs:


‌of women living with HIV want greater involvement in their care<sup>3</sup>


did not believe they were given enough information to be involved in making choices about their HIV treatment<sup>3</sup>


‌did not feel confident enough to raise their concerns with their healthcare team<sup>3</sup>


‌feared being labelled a ‘difficult patient’ by their healthcare team<sup>3</sup>

*Total number of participants is 2,112 as the figures were calculated before the inclusion of additional data from Russia and South Africa.

Women living with HIV and U=U

Positive Perspectives highlighted that people who reported having been told about U=U by their healthcare providers reported better health, yet a third of women living with HIV said they were not informed.3


‌women said their healthcare providers had not told them about U=U<sup>3</sup>

Xiana talks about the importance of telling her doctor about her healthcare needs

Download the results report

If you would like to find out more about HIV & Women, you can download the full results report here.


  • References

    1. UNAIDS. June 2017 Core Epidemiology Slides. Available at: https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_2017_core-epidemiology-slides_en.pdf [Accessed: August 2020].
    2. Global health estimates 2016: deaths by cause, age, sex, by country and by region, 2000–2016. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Available at: https://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/estimates/en/index1.html [Accessed: August 2020].
    3. Okoli C, et al. Oral presentation presented the 10th International Workshop on HIV & Women; 2020; March 6–7; Boston, MA, US.