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AIDS/HIV and Mothering

  • By: Vandana Wadhwa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids through sexual activity, blood and plasma transfusions, injection drug use (IDU) and unsterile syringes, and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). HIV/AIDS cannot be cured, but antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) can help prevent opportunistic infections that occur as a result of HIV's attack on the body's immune system. ARTs also help prevent MTCT and significantly delay the onset of fatal complications related to AIDS.

Today, women of reproductive age (15–49 years) are increasingly bearing the brunt of HIV/AIDS. In areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, women account for 60 percent of all cases. HIV/AIDS is often the result of war, where systematic rape is sometimes used as a tool ...

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