Monday, December 1, 2014
Experts say that 6.4 million of South Africa’s 50 million people are HIV positive
In South Africa, females between the ages of 15 and 24 are four times more likely to contract HIV than their male counterparts. HIV prevalence in young women is rising at a faster rate than in young men. The infection rate among females 15 to 19 is 5.6%. The gap grows even wider in the 20 to 24 age category. Studies show that women in this group become HIV positive five years earlier than their male counterparts. Among people age 20 to 24, the infection rate is 5.1% among males and 17.4% among females. About one quarter of all new infections are in young women between the ages of 15 and 24, with the women being infected by older men in exchange for gifts and clothing, because older men have a higher accumulated risk of HIV. In South Africa, girls as young as 12 are allowed to have sex, use contraceptives and abort unwanted pregnancies without the consent of their parents which may be a factor in the high rate of HIV infection among young women.