As the HIV epidemic has matured, in many settings it has become a disease of young women. In sub-Saharan Africa, 75 percent of the 6.2 million young people aged 15–24 living with HIV are female. At the same time, child marriage, though on the decline, persists. In parts of Africa, large numbers of girls are at risk of child marriage, and many millions of young wives were married as children. To better understand these twin phenomena—child marriage and the HIV epidemic—the Population Council adopted a multilevel approach. One level of investigation examines the effect of child marriage on the epidemic, including on rates of HIV infection among women and girls. A second level seeks to mitigate the significant risks to girls’ well-being and safety that arise from child marriage, and to understand the distinctive risks it brings within the context of the HIV epidemic. Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 11 describes the Council’s multilevel approach.
Bruce, Judith. 2007. "Child marriage in the context of the HIV epidemic," Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief no. 11. New York: Population Council.