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Rwanda Launches Campaign to Address Cross-Generational Sex

May 27, 2009

The Rwanda Ministry of Youth recently launched a six-month campaign aimed at reducing the trend of cross-generational sex, which some health officials say is contributing to the spread of HIV among young people in the country, the New Times/AllAfrica.com reports. Rwanda's National Commission for the Fight Against AIDS, USAID and Population Services International launched the campaign urging youth to avoid having sex with older people. The minister of youth, Protais Mitali, said that all institutions in the country should help address the trend in order to curb the spread of HIV among young people.

According to Anita Asiimwe, executive secretary of the commission, data show that Rwandan women ages 20 to 24 are five times more likely to be HIV-positive than men their age. She added that statistics indicate that one out of every 10 girls had her first sexual experience with a man 10 or more years older. She added, "Since older men are much more likely to be [HIV-positive] than their male counterparts, young girls appear to be getting infected by older men, rather than by boys of their age." Staci Leuschuer with PSI Rwanda said that there are lower rates of condom use among young people, noting that about 40% of young people report condom use and that about 24% to 25% of girls ages 15 to 24 are using condoms (Mutara, New Times/AllAfrica.com, 5/24).

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