Gender Equity and Vertically Transmitted Infections: A Country-Level Analysis across 153 Countries

Youngmi Lee, Junseok Park, Myeungki Min, Youjin Lee, Youngun Yu, Mi Kyoung Shim, Myeong Gyu Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Gender inequality is a barrier to education toward women and accessibility to health facilities, which are important for preventing vertical transmission. This study was conducted to analyze the impact of gender equity on vertically transmitted infections (hepatitis viruses, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], and syphilis) using country-level indicators. Methods: The relationship between the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), which is indicator of gender equity, and vertical transmission was analyzed. GGGI scores were collected from 153 countries in 2020. Vertical transmission included 10 outcomes for hepatitis viruses, HIV, and syphilis. Generalized linear model (GLM) was used for analyzing the relationship. Other predictors included skilled birth attendant and country income. Results: The median GGGI score was 0.706 (interquartile range, 0.664-0.736). GLM showed that the GGGI score was significantly associated with the incidence of both chronic hepatitis B and C in under 5 years (both p<0.001). For HIV, GGGI score was significantly associated with the pregnant women with unknown HIV status (p=0.001), no early infant diagnosis (p=0.027), and final transmission rate (p=0.005). There was no significant predictor for pregnant women who have not received antiretroviral therapy for prevention of mother-to-child transmission. All syphilis indicators have improved in high-income countries compared to low-income countries. GGGI score had a significant association only with no syphilis screening (p<0.001). Conclusions: A lower GGGI score was associated with higher vertical transmission of hepatitis and HIV. The improvement of gender equity might prevent vertical transmission of these viruses. Further intervention studies are warranted to verify the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Equity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education (no grant number).

Publisher Copyright:
© Youngmi Lee et al., 2021; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • HIV
  • gender equity
  • hepatitis virus
  • syphilis
  • vertical transmission


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