Over 25% of Schoolgirls in South Africa are HIV Positive

So I just thought this was the craziest thing ever.  Twenty five percent of schoolgirls, but only four percent of schoolboys are HIV positive in South Africa.  There are some other alarming statistics in this article, too.  The health minister of South Africa has been praised for helping to treat HIV and AIDS, but its getting worse down there.  If Africa doesn’t find some solution, maybe laws against sex with minors or better sexual education in school and at home, their country’s growth and progress is going to be stunted.  Also, maybe there could be a solution with the development of the new drug that could cure HIV.  However, that wouldn’t really get at the root of the problem.

Mr Motsoaledi said the large number of young girls who were HIV-positive “destroyed my soul”.

“It is clear that it is not young boys who are sleeping with these girls. It is old men,” The Sowetan quotes him as saying.

“We must take a stand against sugar daddies because they are destroying our children.”

via BBC World News

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7 thoughts on “Over 25% of Schoolgirls in South Africa are HIV Positive

  1. Taylor Shippen says:

    I never thought I’d see the statement “We must take a stand against sugar daddies” would ever be seriously in a news report… but here it is, and I couldn’t agree more. There are many issues where the solutions are sometimes worse than the problems; but this is one case where morally I feel that almost any solution is worth giving women a chance to finish puberty before they begin to be “at risk” for HIV. No teenager ever feels like something like HIV will happen to them, nor do they truly understand the life long consequences of becoming infected. What is to be done though? There is little change in enforcing any kind of new laws; and increased sex education seems unlikely to sink in until it is too late for many girls. Not to mention that many of these cases were probably caused by rape, a problem that no amount of sex education or protection could solve.

  2. robertnishan says:

    Whenever I read about problems in Africa, I wonder how much of the problems come form a lack of education. Do citizens in South Africa really understand the repercussions of HIV? Do they know how it is manifest? Perhaps people do know but they simply think that it is apart of life. I wonder if the people in such African countries know that HIV is not nearly as common in other countries. I’ve always though that education is more effective than legislation when dealing with widespread societal problems. However, perhaps many people are “past feeling” so that only severe legal actions can help protect vulnerable children from predators.

  3. Solutions to the problems of HIV and other sex-related diseases in Africa are always seriously debated. Many of the problems seem to stem from cultural aspects. Last semester I read the book “Half the Sky;” I highly recommend the book. It is interesting because the authors make it evident that in order for permanent changes to come about, developers need to focus more on changing cultural norms and creating more educational opportunities.

  4. clarkanne12 says:

    I’d like to expound to the comments above about HIV becoming a way of life. I think a lot of problems slip under the radar because of the culture norms. Especially if some of the cultural practices are an integral way of life, as sickening as it may sound. There was a recent TED talk by Kakenya Ntaiya. (“A girl who demanded school”) who explains the ways of the Maasai people that does not align with the moral ideas of most nations, but is a part of the culture. It’s a tricky balance when one is dealing with the “norms” of life to try and change it. I actually think education of the causes and consequences of HIV would be a great step in the right direction. It’s difficult to say the most effective way, and one must emphasize the importance of first steps.

  5. I’m no expert in this topic, but i thought it was both a fascinating and sad statistic. I do however agree with above comments made about education and social norms. I couldn’t imagine if 25% of the girls I attended school with had HIV. I think that by educating in a way that both teaches about the virus, and teaches why social/cultural norms exacerbate the HIV problem in the country will help alleviate the problem. It won’t cure it, but it could be a step in the right direction.

  6. hpackham says:

    I just can’t even wrap my head around this statistic–It is that sad! I also agree that education about the facts of HIV and its prevention would be an effective course of action, but not completely effective, at least not for awhile. It is rare when a method is 100% effective; it takes time to see the effects of educational measures in a society, and the effects aren’t always so positive. Public schools teach safe sex, but do teens always practice safe sex? My middle school’s D.A.R.E. campaign told us to say no to drugs, but did that prevent kids from experimentng and doing what they wanted? And if these educational measures didn’t work in Park City, Ut, U.S.A., then I wonder if they will work that well in 3rd world countries in Africa. But we’ve got to try the best with the means we have, and who knows, maybe sex ed. and D.A.R.E. really did change some kids minds. I’m not saying that education is bad, I’m just saying that with this particular crisis, it seems like there must be something else, something more powerful– like a change in core beliefs and religion. Get to work in Africa, LDS missionaries! haha

  7. kelseyclark says:

    The article stated, “The health department recently introduced measures to curb the spread of HIV among school children, introducing voluntary testing and suggesting condom distribution at schools.” I would think that many students would not take the initiative to get tested, especially since it may be very embarrassing for them. Furthermore, if they get tested how is that going to stop the spread? It will not, as that I do not think that a student with HIV will practice abstinence from that point forward. Will condoms solve the problem? If is just less-risky sex. I do not want to reiterate the above comments, but people need to become educated. Values need to be taught as well. It cannot just come from the school districts, it needs to come from the homes. Some children do not have good homes. Even more so, some children are in very dangerous environments and fall victim to heinousness crimes. These adults need to be punished and taken out of these communities. They are destroying the youth, and taking away their childhood. There needs to be serious intervention which needs to come from all sides in many different avenues to change this vicious cycle.

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