AIDS is the main cause of death and disease among women between ages 15 and 44, according to research from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first global study about women’s health, as reported by The Associated Press.

The study showed that unprotected sex is a major risk factor for women of childbearing age in developing countries. (Study stats indicated that one in five deaths is linked to unsafe sex.)

“Women who do not know how to protect themselves from such infections, or are unable to do so, face increased risks of death or illness,” WHO researchers stated in their report. “So do those who cannot protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy or control their fertility because of lack of access to contraception.”

The report also spotlighted health care inequities women face throughout their lives. For example, diseases that affect only girls remain unidentified because they don’t affect boys.

In addition, cultural norms in many societies prioritize the well-being of males. Therefore, scientists specifically organize clinical trials and develop medicines to treat men.

“We will not see a significant improvement in the health of women until they are no longer recognized as second-class citizens in many parts of the world,” said WHO director-general Margaret Chan, MD, MPH.

Read a speech about the AIDS movement and African Americans here.