This paper aims to explore how the HIV/AIDS epidemic affects the socio-economic development of the sub-Saharan region, and to explain the importance and benefits of a gendered approach in the battle against the disease. As heterosexual intercourse represents the major route of the spread of the virus, sexual behaviour and its determinants in form of the societal norms and pressures are outlined, and ways in which this fuels the epidemic are explained. Possible approaches and ways how to tackle the disease and increase the chances of more effective prevention to halt its spread are discussed. The great need to focus on women in prevention efforts has been widely recognized. This paper however suggests that effective HIV/AIDS programs should equally target the region’s women, men, and the elderly and the youth in order to succeed in the battle against the disease and set the region on the path of development.
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