Twenty Eight Percent of Girls in South Africa Have HIV

by Samantha Ritchie

Watch this short documentary:

South Africa: Inside the Cycle of Rape


Twenty-eight percent of girls have HIV in South Africa. The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has stated that South Africa must take a “stance against ‘sugar daddies’ because they are destroying children.” Mr Motsoaledi stated that some pregnant girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years old have contracted the virus.

Statistics released on March 14th highlighted that 28% of young girls are HIV positive compared with 7% of boys. Mr Motsoaledi stated that “It is clear that it is not young boys who are sleeping with these girls. It is old men.” 

These statistics also showed that 94,000 schoolgirls fell pregnant in 2011 and of that, 77,000 had abortions at state facilities.

However, the way in which women and girls are treated in South Africa is inhumane.

Johannesburg has been named the rape capital of the world. Gang rape is now considered a male bonding session. And statistics highlighted by the Research Council in 2009 showed that 25% of men have committed rape, with half of them admitting to attacking on more than one occasion.

Last month, we reported on a gang rape which happened to a young girl named Anene Booysen in a construction site, in the town of Bredasdorp, eighty miles east of Cape Town. This attack was brutal. President Zuma of South Africa – himself no stranger to controversy surrounding his sexual conduct – condemned the gang rape and stated there needs to be ‘harsher sentences’ for men who commit sexual offences. But, will this address the ‘rape culture’ which exists in South Africa? Please view the video above.

Sex attacks in the country are deemed ‘normal’ and many attacks, as they are so common, are not considered news worthy.

South Africa now has the world’s largest anti-retroviral programme to treat HIV-Aids. However, this was only developed after a huge amount of protest, including civil disobedience and court action, by the Treatment Action Campaign, trade unions and other civil society groups. Former President Thabo Mbeki’s denialism – he refused to believe that HIV caused Aids – is though to be a major contributor to the extremely high HIV prevalence rate, as his views undermined public health messages.

The South African government has stated that this programme costs the country too much money. Last year the virus – which is a manageable syndrome rather than a death sentence in countries with decent health care – killed over 260,000 people world wide and half of these people died in South Africa.

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