SAFE SEX: A South African wall mural promotes Aids/HIV awareness
A SOUTH African minister has blamed older men in sexual relationships with young girls for the country’s high rate of HIV positive schoolgirls – at least 28 per cent carry the virus, compared to only four per cent of boys.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi pointed the finger at “sugar daddies” for the disparity in figures between boys and girls.
Speaking at an open meeting in Carolina, a town in the Mpumalanga province, the minister – who has overseen the world’s largest anti-retroviral (ARV) programme since he was appointed in 2009 – said society “must take a stand” against older men sleeping with girls and young women.
The Sowetan, a local newspaper, quotes Motsoaledi as saying: “It is clear that it is not young boys who are sleeping with these girls. It is old men.
“We must take a stand against sugar daddies because they are destroying our children.
“77,000 girls had abortions at public facilities. We can no longer live like that. We want to put an end to it,” he added.
The minister hired by President Jacob Zuma said girls between 10 and 14 who were pregnant tested positive for HIV.
He also cited figures that 94,000 schoolgirls were impregnated in 2011.
Motsoaledi has been commended for his efforts to combat HIV; since he took office the number of people receiving ARV treatment and drugs has more than doubled from 678,000 to 1.5 million, official statistics state.
South Africa has well-documented problems with Aids/HIV – approximately 10 per cent of the total population (more than five million people) carries the virus.