Although there is a vast literature on HIV/AIDS, relatively little has been written about how HIV/AIDS affects women. In part, this reflects the way AIDS was initially perceived in the West as a 'men's disease', so much so that until a few years ago a common response to attempts to discuss the topic of women and AIDS was 'Do women get AIDS?', the assumption being that women were at little or no risk. This assumption is contradicted by research findings and reported figures. In recent years it has become increasingly clear that women can both become infected with HIV and transmit the virus. In the UK, although the number of women who are HIV-positive is still low in global terms, the pattern of infection is of growing concern. Cases of AIDS among women have increased rapidly, by 51% in the two consecutive twelve-month periods, January 1992 December 1993 (from 142 to 215); 19% of all those reported to be HIV positive in that period are women (Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre figures to the end of December 1993).