"Sugar Daddies" Contribute to Spread of HIV in Africa, Experts Say
July 16, 2004
Sexual relationships between young girls and older, married men -- known as "sugar daddies" -- open up "huge networks" for HIV transmission in Africa, according to AIDS experts who spoke at a symposium at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. A Population Services International survey of men and young girls in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa found that the men preferred not to use condoms and often had sex with younger women because they perceive them as "pure" and unlikely to be HIV-positive, PSI researcher John Berman said. In the survey, "sugar daddies" were defined as men at least 10 years older than their sexual partners. The girls, who were between 14 and 20 years old, said that the men provided them with money for school books, food or small luxuries in return for the sexual liaisons, Berman said. Many girls assumed that the men previously had been faithful to their wives and thus were not HIV-positive. Mercy Amba Oduyoye, director of the Institute of Women, Religion and Culture in Ghana, said that the situation has grown out of male-dominated societies in Africa and young girls often are coerced into such relationships. Simon Gregson, a British statistician who developed a model to determine the effect of cross-generational sex on a country's HIV prevalence, said that curbing such encounters could cause a reduction in HIV transmission (Mader, AP/Yahoo! News, 7/15).
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