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In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

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Did You Know?Did You Know?

In recent years the HIV/AIDS pandemic has affected women more than men. Nowhere is this more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa, where 58 percent of all HIV-positive adults are women and where girls make up 75 percent of all infected young people. These figures show the vulnerability of women and girls resulting from gender inequality, especially in sexual relationships. Most young women are married to or have sexual relationships with older men. The power imbalance in these relationships makes it difficult for women to negotiate safe sex practices. And marriage offers no haven against the virus; studies show that most infected women in sub-Saharan Africa got the disease from their husbands.
Gender inequality also prevents many women and girls from receiving health care. Husbands and male family members often decide how and when to spend family resources, and when those resources are limited, the man's health needs often come first. Men decide, too, whether women can take time from their household duties to visit health clinics; this prevents many women from ever being tested for HIV/AIDS.
Women bear the brunt of taking care of sick family members. Girls drop out of school to care for sick parents or younger siblings. Grandmothers care for their dying adult children and then take on the role of parent for their orphaned grandchildren. AIDS widows often become homeless when their husbands' relatives claim the family home, land, and sometimes even the children. Many aid organizations are trying to ensure equal care for women, but they must also work at changing cultural attitudes. Treatment initiatives in Botswana and South Africa raise hopes that gender equality can be achieved, since the number of women match or exceed the number of men in several programs there.
—Marisa Larson

Related Links

Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa (DATA)
DATA calls on the governments of the world's wealthy nations to put more resources behind Africa and to adopt policies that will help rather than hinder the continent in achieving long-term prosperity. Advocating for debt forgiveness, increased AIDS treatment and prevention programs, and the elimination of unfair trade policies toward Africa, the group also calls on African leaders to strengthen democracy, accountability, and transparency with their own citizens.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
The Global Fund was created to finance a turnaround in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. These diseases kill over six million people each year, and the numbers are growing. As a partnership between governments, the private sector, and affected communities, the Global Fund is an innovative approach to international health financing.
Siyaphila La Programme–Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape 2003-2004 Activity Report
This report explains the background and goals for the Siyaphila La program and gives specifics about implementing HIV/AIDS services, including antiretroviral treatment in a rural resource-poor setting.
Siyaphila La Program—Lusikisiki
Visit this website to make an online donation to Siyaphila La's HIV/AIDS program in Lusikisiki.
UNAIDS: Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS
As the United Nations' program for HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS promotes a comprehensive and coordinated global fight against the pandemic. UNAIDS works at HIV transmission prevention, providing care and support to those already living with the virus, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic on communities.
World Health Organization: HIV/AIDS Facts and Figures
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations' specialized agency for health. WHO's goal is to help all people attain the highest level of health possible. Its HIV section contains a variety of statistics for monitoring HIV in the world today.
More Work from Photographer Gideon Mendel

Eight Women, One Voice
Mendel's photographs and audio profile eight African women whose daily lives are affected by HIV/AIDS, free trade, poverty, and other issues relating to the 2005 G8 summit.
The Children Left Behind
This website documents the devastating effects of Mozambique's civil war and the desperate situation for its AIDS orphans.
Salvation is Cheap
Hear more personal stories from those living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa in this special multimedia presentation
HIV/AIDS in Swaziland
Watch this video presentation about the effects of HIV/AIDS on families and communities in Swaziland.


Barnett, Tony, and Alan Whiteside. AIDS in the Twenty-First Century: Disease and Globalization. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Farmer, Paul. Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues. University of California Press, 2001.
Hunter, Susan. Black Death: AIDS in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Irwin, Alexander, and Joyce Millen. Global AIDS: Myths and Facts, Tools for Fighting the AIDS Pandemic. South End Press, 2002.


NGS Resources

Godwin, Peter. "City of Hope, City of Fear: Johannesburg." National Geographic (April 2004), 58-77.
Fraser, Sean. African Adventure Atlas. National Geographic Books, 2003.
Jaret, Peter. Impact: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Global Health. National Geographic Books, 2003.
Klesius, Michael. "Amid the Unrelenting Spread of AIDS: Search for a Cure." National Geographic (February 2002), 32-43.
Carter, Jason. Power Lines: Two Year's on South Africa's Borders. National Geographic Books, 2002.
Busch, Richard. "Fairest Cape." National Geographic Traveler (March/April 1997), 52-71.
Jaret, Peter. "Viruses: On the Edge of Life, On the Edge of Death." National Geographic (July 1994), 58-91.
Cobb, Charles E., Jr. "The Twilight of Apartheid—Life in Black South Africa." National Geographic (February 1993), 66-93.
Jaret, Peter. "The Disease Detectives: Stalking the World's Epidemics." National Geographic (January 1991), 114-40.
Caputo, Robert. "Uganda—Land Beyond Sorrow." National Geographic (April 1988), 468-91.
Jaret, Peter. "Our Immune System: The Wars Within." National Geographic (June 1986), 702-35.
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