Volume 10, Number 11—November 2004
ICEID & ICWID 2004
ICWID Session Summaries
Disparities in Infectious Diseases among Women in Developing Countries1
Infectious diseases are leading causes of death in developing countries. According to 1998 data from the World Health Organization, 1.2% of total deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases occurred in industrialized countries, compared to 43% in developing countries. Women in developing countries disproportionately suffer from a host of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, upper respiratory tract infectious, skin infections, visceral leishmaniasis, malaria, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV/AIDS.
Poverty, poor education, low health knowledge, poor infrastructure, geographic factors, life style, and environmental factors (i.e., limited access to resources such as clean water) have been identified as primary factors contributing to the high incidence of infectious diseases among women in developing countries. Also, such women tend to have limited or no access to health care, be vitamin deficient, and have lower status in their communities.
Often, infectious diseases may run a substantially longer course for women in developing countries because of stigma, family needs, and shame. Another important barrier to combating infectious diseases among women in developing countries is the lack of use and the misuse of prescription medication. A substantial percentage of women rely on traditional treatment methods. When women do seek healthcare services and are prescribed medication, women frequently do not adhere to the dosage and quantities prescribed.
Suggested citation for this article: Rashid J, Taiwo OO, Ahluwalia I, Chungong S. Disparities in infectious diseases among women in developing countries. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2004 No [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1011.040624_12
1The following comments were made in presentations by the above authors at the International Conference on Women and Infectious Disease.