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Campaign Against Cross-Generational Sex Launched in Uganda to Fight Spread of HIV Among Girls, Women

August 3, 2007

Population Service International on Wednesday launched a campaign against cross-generational sex in Kampala, Uganda, to fight the spread of HIV among girls and women, Uganda's New Vision reports. According to the New Vision, cross-generational sex occurs when a young girl or woman has a sexual relationship with a man at least 10 years older than she is.

The campaign -- which will be implemented in universities and about 50 secondary schools in Uganda -- aims to empower girls and women. It was launched in response to several studies that found HIV prevalence among girls ages 15 to 24 in the country was four times higher than boys in the same age group, the New Vision reports. One study found that 10% of girls have sexual relationships with older men. In another study, 20% of girls surveyed said they had had cross-generational sex and 50% considered it to be normal.

Sylvia Nagginda, queen of the Ugandan tribal kingdom of Buganda, called for the end of cultural practices that influence girls to have relationships with older men. She added that cross-generational sex will make young women "prone" to unplanned pregnancies and HIV/AIDS. Miria Matembe, former minister for ethics, said that cross-generational sex is a widespread issue because it is embraced by several cultures. "The root cause of this is our traditional and cultural practices, which undermine girls as sex objects," Matembe said, adding, "The fight must be broader for the culture of materialism to be broken down" (Natukunda, New Vision, 8/2).

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