News / Africa

HIV Prevalence High Among South African Teen Girls

HIV Prevalence High Among South African Teen Girlsi
X
November 28, 2013 3:07 PM
The latest research shows that efforts to reduce new HIV infections among South African teens is working. But the bad news is that girls between the ages of 15 to 24 are three times more likely than boys to contract the virus. Thuso Khumalo has more for VOA News in Johannesburg.]]

HIV Prevalence High Among South African Teen Girls

— The latest research shows that efforts to reduce new HIV infections among South African teens is working.  But the bad news is that girls between the ages of 15 to 24 are three times more likely than boys to contract the virus.
 
The South African government said more people are getting tested for HIV, thanks in part to a governent campaign that urges  "Get wise, get tested, get circumcised."
 
President Jacob Zuma himself led the call in 2010 when he was publicly tested for HIV and revealed negative results.  
 
United Nations figures show that South Africa still has more than 6 million people living with HIV, but there is good news on new infections among teenagers.
 
The Human Science Research Council of South Africa said HIV prevalence in youth between 15 to 24 years of age has dropped - from just over 10 (10.3) in 2005 to just over about 7 (7.3) percent in 2012.
 
Scott Burnett is senior executive manager at LoveLife, an organization working for world without HIV.  He said these positive numbers are the result of vigorous awareness campaigns over the past few years.
 
“Sex is far most spoken about, condoms are generally available, and people are beginning to realize that open, honest and early discussion about sex and sexuality don’t predispose young people to all the risk, they actually help them to avoid risk,” said Burnett.

But girls are more at risk than boys.  UNICEF figures show HIV prevalence in girls is 13.6 percent compared to 4.5 percent for boys.  The question is why.
 
Matebogo Mampani, a training specialist at SoulCity, said the lack of relevant HIV awareness messages targeted to young girls is the problem.

“Sometimes you find that in the schools people wanna say abstain [from sex] -  abstain when basically there are children in the same school who are pregnant, there are condoms that are used lying around in the schools,” she said.

Portia Munguambe, 19, a Lovelife peer educator, said there are other pressures - like poor girls getting lured by older men with gifts and cash and even food in exchange for sex.

“Basically we have the issue of sugar mammies and sugar daddies.  You know, as teens we wanna fit into the lifestyle of having fancy things, for example having my hair done, having those heels [high heel shoes],” she explained.

Portia said building self-esteem and confidence in young girls is part of the solution.  She also has some straight talk for her peers. “Be safe, condomize and do everything with your powers to protect yourself,” she stated.

Portia said unless enough teenagers are trained to communicate such messages to kids their own age, it will be a long time before the rate of HIV prevalence among young girls comes down.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ron Low from: Chicago
November 30, 2013 10:07 PM
Wawer / Gray reported to the WHO in 2009 that circumcising Ugandan men made them 50% MORE likely to infect their female partners. These mass circumcision campaigns are going to be a disaster.


by: jack
November 28, 2013 11:48 AM
" ... poor girls getting lured by older men with gifts and cash and even food in exchange for sex."

And whom did those "infected" old men get HIV from? If they were only 4.5% infected as boys, how can they infect girls up to 13.6% when they're old? The figures don't add up. Infection flows downhill, from the most infected (women) to the less infected. Why not forget female victimhood for a change and try to get to the truth?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid