At least 28% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive compared with 4% of boys because “sugar daddies” are exploiting them, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said.
He said 94,000 schoolgirls also fell pregnant in 2011, and 77,000 had abortions at state facilities, The Sowetan newspaper reports.
About 10% of South Africans are living with HIV, official statistics show.
Mr Motsoaledi has been widely praised for his efforts to curb the disease.
South Africa has run the world’s largest anti-retroviral (ARV) programme since President Jacob Zuma appointed him health minister in 2009.
The number of HIV-positive people receiving life-saving ARV drugs more than doubled from 678,500 to 1.5 million after he took office, according to official statistics.
The government of former President Thabo Mbeki, who questioned the link between HIV and Aids, had argued it could not afford to roll out this treatment to all the South Africans who needed it.
Speaking at a public meeting in the town of Carolina in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, 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.”
Mr Motsoaledi said 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.
January 19, 2010 11:47 a.m. EST
- Activist says at least 70 people killed and about 600 injured in violence
- Violence prompted imposition of a curfew Tuesday
- Hundreds have died in decade of Christian and Muslim clashes in region
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Authorities have slapped a curfew on a city that has seen repeated violence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, but it has failed to stop the latest outbreak of killing, officials told CNN.
A local activist said at least 70 people had been killed and about 600 injured in the most recent outbreak.
The violence broke out Sunday and flared up again Tuesday, prompting the imposition of a curfew through Wednesday, a local official said.
But the curfew has already been broken and there have been “a number of casualties,” said Gyang Choji, special advisor on religious affairs to the governor of Plateau state.
Sani Shehu of the Civil Rights Congress in Jos said thousands of people had been displaced and were sheltering in military and police headquarters. There was no independent confirmation of Shehu’s figures.
It is not clear what sparked the latest round of violence, but hundreds have died in clashes between Christians and Muslims in central Plateau state in the past decade.
In November 2008, at least 700 Nigerians died in Christian-Muslim riots that followed a disputed local election, Human Rights Watch reported.
The most populous country in Africa, with a population of more than 150 million, Nigeria is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians.
With more than 78 million Muslims, it is has the sixth largest Islamic population in the world, according to a study last year by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
It has become the focal point of Christian and Muslim groups — in Nigeria and abroad, said Eliza Griswold, who has spent the last five years traveling to Nigeria to examine the causes of religious violence.
“Nigeria has become a battleground state for Christians and Muslims around the world who see themselves involved in a numbers game,” said Griswold, author of “The Tenth Parallel,” an upcoming book that explores the tension between Christians and Muslims just north of the equator in Africa and Asia.
“Any Christian or Muslim who has the point of view that numbers matter has a stake in Nigeria,” she said.
The divisions between Christianity and Islam are more than symbolic in Nigeria. There’s a geographic boundary: Nigerian Muslims tend to live in north, while Christians live in the south, Griswold said.
“There is this attitude that Islam is under siege by the Christian West and, by proxy, Nigerian Christians,” she said. “There is this sense among some devoted Muslims in the north that we need to be part of the larger Islamic community, and we need to prove that we belong.”
Message From Our Friends In Africa:
Dear Brothers and Sister In Christ,
Our Phone Number is: (011) 254-736-713697
We have been operating a feeding program every month but at this time we don’t have anything to give our hungry people and the orphaned children. If God speaks to you to send what you can please send it through Brother Jonathan at the Hope Movement or directly to us in Kenya by using this Our Bank Account, Western Union or Money Gram.
We look forward to hearing from you, thank you for your kindness and your love for us, the hungry children of God and His people.
We cover them in prayer and we ask that the Lord of the Breakthrough will go before them. We ask for Provision and Protection for each one. As well as we declare revival, a move of God in their midst in Jesus Name! We ask the Father to bind all power of darkness and every assignment of the enemy. We declare your truth Lord that sets the Nations Free! We pray for their Government lord.
Father we declare Safety and Protection to all your Ministers, Laborers in the fields of Harvest.
Father we lift up the United States and our Government system and leaders as well. We declare that they shall make decisions and legislations that side with righteousness. Amen!!!!
We love you all!
Pastor Fredrick and Dorcas
Children Studying in School