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Women worldwide are at greater risk than men of contracting HIV, an American scientist has said.

The Times reports that Thomas Quinn, Professor of Infectious Diseases at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, has called for a global strategy to tackle HIV in women.

He said: "If medical progress is to continue on how best to prevent and treat the disease, then developing specific strategies that empower women will be key to its success."

Nearly half of those affected by HIV worldwide are now women, and Professor Quinn said that “hormonal and developmental factors” meant that women were more likely to catch the virus.