In the early days AIDS was a male disease. Long-distance truck drivers, miners, and other migrant workers got it in the cities; gay men contracted it before they knew how it was spread; and people who use drugs found it in their blood after they had shared needles. It seemed that the risks that men took were putting them in danger, and so masculinity seemed to be the driving force behind HIV vulnerability. Today, more than 20 years into the epidemic, women account for 52% of people living with HIV worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, women constitute 57% of those living with the virus. Most dramatically, 76% of young people aged 15–24 living with HIV are women.
How this happened has been the subject of many papers and workshops. In this essay I am interested in how we reverse it.