American women are living healthier, longer lives than those born a quarter century ago, but the AIDS epidemic and limited access to the health care system poses a serious threat, says a status report on today's woman, "The American Woman 1988-89: A Status Report."

Citing recent surveys and national statistics, the study suggests that although women make up a small proportion of those who have been diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome since the beginning of the deadly epidemic, women are the fastest growing group of people with AIDS.The poverty rate is higher among women, especially older women, and they must rely on inadequate public programs, the study said. Women classified as non-poor are less likely to work than men and therefore are less likely to be covered by an employer's health insurance plan.