the HIV infection rate among most age groups in South Africa is stabilising, teenage mortality from Aids has doubled with adolescent girls at
a particularly high risk of developing Aids.
a recent press release, non-profit organisation Right to Care explains:
a third of all new HIV infections in South Africa occur in 15–24 year olds with
adolescent girls being up to eight times more likely to be infected with
HIV than their male counterparts. According to HSRC statistics, black African
females aged 20–34 have a HIV prevalence rate of 31.6% and that almost a
quarter of all new infections occur amongst young women aged 15 – 24.”
more concerning is that while mortality due to Aids is decreasing among all
other age groups, the number of adolescents dying from HIV-associated
conditions has doubled. In 2013, 120 000 adolescents died from Aids.
add that, in rural South African areas, more than half of sexually active youth
aged 15–24 did not use a condom with their most recent partner.
2012, the Human Sciences
Research Council (HRSC) conducted the South African National HIV Prevalence,
Incidence and Behaviour Survey. The research found that condom use had
decreased, as had the level of education around HIV.
report explains that the South African government has focused on medical
solutions to the HIV epidemic, emphasising medical male circumcisions and ART
programmes. “Social and behavioural interventions have, however, fallen largely
by the wayside.”
Marnie Vujovic, Paediatric and Adolescent Psychosocial Programme Manager of
Right to Care, believes that a series of focused interventions are needed to
address the issue:
need to focus on a well-targeted package of interventions that can address some
of the most pressing challenges we face – worrying levels of sexual coercion,
age disparate relations and violence, high rates of teen pregnancy. A
coordinated response is needed which strengthens the support systems available
to young women at various contact points such as family, school and healthcare
facility, and which offers education around issues such as sexuality and HIV
2010 BMC Public
research article suggests that addressing poverty, gender, alcohol use and
other social risk factors is critical to reducing the prevalence of HIV amongst
South African teens.
The paper further suggests that better school
programmes are needed with a focus on interactive HIV education.
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