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workers blamed for Zimbabwe's surge in teen Aids cases
SOS Children's Villages
January 07, 2011
workers in Zimbabwe are being blamed for a spike in the number of
HIV/Aids infections by failing to use condoms.
The south African
country's economic turnaround, coinciding with the festive
season has seen a boom in the sector and frequent city night clubs.
But condom use among teenage prostitutes is sparse.
While they may
be aware of the risks they are not in a position to negotiate with
clients who are ready to pay higher fees for unprotected sex.
a steady client and we have since ceased using condoms," said
one teenage commercial sex worker who only gave her name as Tasha.
is it anyway? If I insist on condoms he will simply look for someone
else to spend his money on," she told Inter Press news service.
She was not
alone. "If you are concerned about HIV/Aids, you stay home,"
said another sex worker, who said her name was Beyonce. "While
it has been suggested that sex workers carry condoms in their purses
to offer their clients, Beyonce said carrying condoms in her handbag
is 'un-ladylike.' "Imagine if my mother found condoms
in my purse?"
the world's fourth-highest rate of HIV and has been struggling
with a food emergency and the sharpest rises in child death rates
in history, according to figures from the United Nations Children's
Fund. A quarter of the population is HIV-positive; more than half
of all new infections are among young people, mostly girls.
drop in Aids rates in Zimbabwe over the past the few years, the
15-19 year old age group, in particular, still remains highly exposed
to HIV infection, according to the United Nations. Young women are
high risk because they are more vulnerable and susceptible to HIV
infection biologically, economically and culturally than men, the
one of several countries in southern Africa where multiple partners
are still viewed as a norm, especially among men, and researchers
say this has stoked the spread of HIV/Aids.
that these young girls have chosen this as a way of life means they
have no bargaining clout, as the sex is always with older clients
who tend to prefer young prostitutes based on the belief they are
Aids-free," said HIV counsellor Patricia Moyo.
to many young girls living with HIV and the stories they tell are
the same: they could not tell their partners anything about condom
use. These are girls who already know the consequences but because
of their economic circumstances throw caution to the wind,"
Ms Moyo said.
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