South Africa’s Centre for the AIDS Programme Research (Caprisa) has confirmed that young girls often get infected with HIV because they usually indulge in unprotected sex with older men. Thus, sleeping with older men has always been the primary reason why young girls in South Africa are mostly infected. They maintained that every week, more that 2,300 South Africans girls between the ages of 15 and 24 will likely contract HIV.
“Sexually active young women are particularly vulnerable as they often engage in sexual relationships with older men.”
“The study found that both girls and boys on completion of Grade 7 remained HIV-negative. However‚ by the time they finished Grade 12 about 7-10% of girls were HIV-positive‚ yet most of the boys remained HIV-negative. This is because the girls were having sex with older men who were likely to already have been infected by the HIV virus”.
In 2005, statistics showed HIV infection prevalence in the age group 15-24 years was 16.9% in women and 4.4% in men in South Africa. However, the soaring rate of the virus in the country has been attributed to several factors like – poverty, cultural influence, violation of women, unprotected intercourse, aggressive response against HIV-free campaigns.
Also, a HIV management organization named Careworks has carried out a study to determine the impact of male circumcision in reducing chances of contracting HIV. From the study however, it was evident that males who underwent circumcision do not only have a reduced chance of getting infected, they also have an upper hand against other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
The group also puts the rate of having lower HIV infection by circumcised men at 60%. This was after they conducted the research at Orange Farm, which is located at southern Johannesburg.
It would be recalled that In 2015, the country’s mid year statistics in Pretoria showed that in South African, one out of 10 persons have HIV. It was garnered that 6.19 million people were living with HIV, out of an estimated population of 54.95 million people. In 2002, a total number of 4.02 million South Africans were infected with the disease. With the 2015 statistics, it showed that number of people living with the virus jacked up by 2.17 million.
The group did not only stop at encouraging males to go and have “the once-off 20 minute procedure” of circumcision, they also opined that the virus is more prevalent in high school girls than their male counterparts because young girls tend to sleep with older men who have the virus. The group raised hopes by saying that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in place has been a veritable tool in waging war against the virus.
Speaking about the group’s findings, a Carework public health specialist Marina Rifkin said,
“Statistics for boys in this category are equally chilling‚ but research shows that the incidence of new HIV infections among young females is more than four times higher than that of their male counterparts‚” the group said on Monday.
The risk is particularly great for high school learners because they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour‚ such as unprotected sex”.