Unsafe sex is linked to one in five deaths in women between the ages of 15 and 44.
According to a World Health Organisation global study of women's health, unsafe sex is the leading risk factor in developing countries, followed by lack of access to contraceptives and iron deficiency, the Associated Press reported.
"Women who do not know how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, or who are unable to do so, face increased risks of death or illness," the study said. "So do those who cannot protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, or control their fertility because of lack of access to contraception." Unsurprisingly, the UN agency said HIV/Aids is the single leading cause of disease and death worldwide among women in this age group.
The study findings underscore the inequality in health care faced by females of all ages because of poverty, less access to health care and cultural beliefs that put a priority on male well-being, the AP reported.
"We will not see a significant improvement in the health of women until they are no longer recognised as second-class citizens in many parts of the world," WHO chief Dr Margaret Chan said at a news conference. – (HealthDay News, November 2009)
Women left out of health care