28% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive – FACT

I heard a horrific statistic today.  One of those where I go “hey that’s not right … that can’t be right”

At least 28% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive compared with 4% of schoolboys.

My brain was trying to work out exactly why there was such a variance in the statistics between the boys and girls.

They are having sex with each other, so it should be a bit closer in terms of related figures.  The boys shouldn’t be 7 times less likely to be HIV positive that the school girls – they are exposed to the same things and equally at risk.  Right?

But it appears I am alarming ill informed.  The girls are testing HIV positive, because of the high prevalence of school girls having sex with “sugar daddies!”

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that some pregnant girls – aged between 10 and 14 years of age – also tested positive for HIV.

“[About] 77 000 girls had abortions at public facilities. We can no longer live like that. We want to put an end to it,” he said.

More than five million people in South Africa are HIV-positive – about 10% of the total population.  Last year more than 260,000 people with Aids died – almost half the figure of all those who died in the country.

I am astonished.  I am disappointed.

My heart dies a bit for what is happening in our country and these girls.  I have no idea how to remedy the situation.  I have no idea what more our government, HIV Activists, and private individuals/companies can do.  At a certain point you do as much as you can, then you need to step back and let people be responsible for their choices and the repercussions.   But how does one stand and watch this happen?

How you are infected with HIV is really not a difficult concept to get your head around.  Its a really simple message.

I do think that the government and clinics have used an exhaustive campaign to inform the public – the campaign and message has been punted from about 1993/1994, if not earlier.

Why is the message just not getting through?

One in four of our school going girls is HIV positive.  That is a horrific statistic.  What does this mean for our society and our future?

I am actually not sure who to blame.  The school girls?  The parents?  Society?  The sugar daddies?  Society as a whole?  The unemployment and poverty rate?

I am so alarmed, I am nearly speechless.

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