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Women's Health

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Women face unique health problems related to many of NIAID’s mission areas—specifically, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and autoimmune disorders. Many infectious and autoimmune diseases affect female populations disproportionately. For example, genital herpes from herpes simplex virus 2 is nearly twice as common among women as among men. Likewise, women account for more cases of chlamydia, lupus, and scleroderma than do men.

Even diseases that strike men and women in nearly equal numbers may have unique consequences or complications for women. For instance, women with HIV are at higher risk of severe cases of gynecological problems, such as chlamydia or bacterial vaginosis, than are non-infected women. Women also risk passing some of these diseases to children during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

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Last Updated September 16, 2014