The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest challenges facing economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. Women of reproductive age (15-49) have the greatest risk and prevalence of HIV in this region. Increased female vulnerability to HIV stems from limited access to health care and lack of autonomy to make decisions regarding sexual health and education. Using Demographic and Health Surveys data from nine sub-Saharan African countries, this paper found several key determinants in women’s empowerment and HIV status. Women who know more about sexual health knowledge in terms of contraceptive methods, fertility, and sexually transmitted diseases are more likely to be empowered than women with no understanding of sexual health. Similarly, women who are empowered are less likely to be HIV positive. This paper has important implications for future policies aiming to lower HIV incidence and improve women’s rights in sub-Saharan Africa.
Bachelor of Arts
Includes bibliographical references.