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The HIV burden on women is dramatically higher in some regions, certain age groups and among marginalized groups, such as female sex workers. Women’s vulnerability to HIV is exacerbated by gender inequality and domestic violence. The global effort towards elimination of paediatric HIV and keeping mothers alive deserves applause. However, the needs of women go beyond their child-bearing age or potentials and/or reproductive desires and must be recognized in the global HIV agenda. In particular, more female-controlled prevention tools are urgently required to allow women to protect themselves.