December 1st is World AIDS day. The one deadly disease is now considered a chronic condition. When properly treated, people with HIV live normal lives and have normal life expectancy. Quite an accomplishment.
Since the huge AIDS crisis of the 80s, awareness has vastly improved and prevention has been key to decreasing overall number of diagnosis. Advances in treatment with highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has had a huge impact on treating people with HIV and those with AIDS.
Women make up only 20% of new cases of HIV in the US, however worldwide, AIDS-related illnesses remain the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age. In the US, most women acquire HIV from unprotected, heterosexual sex with an infected partner. Contaminated needles for IV drug use is the other cause.
Most important for prevention: safe sex and no IV drug use.
For women who have contracted the virus, getting into a HIV treatment program is essential to living a long, normal life. Current treatment regiments are very successful at keeping HIV infected women health, allowing them to have pregnancies and give birth to HIV-negative babies and to have normal life expectancy.