A United Nations report released on Thursday said that Kenyan women who were almost always sexually abused were six times more likely to become infected with HIV/AIDS than their male counterparts.
But the Kenyan government says that the country's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has decreased from 14 percent in 2000 to 7 percent in 2004, adding that its anti-HIV programs like advocating abstinence, faithfulness and condom use have proved successful.
However UNAIDS officials stress that women cannot demand such preventive measures. "Many women and girls are simply not in a position to abstain from sex, rely on fidelity or negotiate condom use," said Jane Kalweo, a UNAIDS program officer.
The UNAIDS report said that practices like polygamy, wife inheritance (where a widow is forced to marry to her dead husband's brother even if he died of AIDS) as well as early marriage were the main reasons for the spread of AIDS.
Myths like having sex with virgins cure HIV are rife in the country and provide an excuse for abusing young girls, the report added.