Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
HIV/Aids remained a challenge in KwaZulu-Natal, but its prevalence was stabilising with the infection rate among antenatal women at 9½ percent in 2010, Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said on Thursday.
Tabling his R26-billion budget in the legislature in Pietermaritzburg, Dhlomo raised concerns at the escalating rate of teenage pregnancies where older men were the fathers. This was contributing to the spread of HIV/Aids, he said.
To deal with this, Dhlomo said his department had launched the Anti-Sugar Daddy awareness campaign and placed 89 billboards across the province.
“This seeks to highlight the dangers of sex with older men and to encourage community leadership and stigma of older men who seek sex with young girls, particularly those between the ages of 14 and 21.
“It has been documented that young girls (who have sex with older men) not only fall pregnant and jeopardise their careers, but are often infected with HIV/Aids,” Dhlomo said.
He said a study by the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA confirmed that the increasing HIV prevalence among 15-29-year-old females might be indicative of early sexual involvement with older men.
“The prevalence of HIV in children below the age of 10 is less than 2 percent, after which the pattern changes.”
The prevalence rate among males between the ages of 15 to 19 remains less than 2 percent, while the prevalence in females shows a sharp increase of up to 6 percent, reaching a peak of around 8 percent in the 20-24 years age group.
For the 2012/13 financial year, the province has budgeted R2.2 billion for its HIV/Aids programmes, including prevention, awareness and for the roll-out of antiretrovirals.
This allocation was an increase from R1.7 billion in the past financial year. - The Mercury