Why South African adolescent girls need to take PrEP

Why South African adolescent girls need to take PrEP

According to a study by the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 5.3 million people under the age of 50 are HIV positive in South Africa. South Africa’s National Strategic Plan (2017-2022) identified women and adolescent girls as the groups who are particularly at risk of HIV transmission. The HIV prevalence in young women between the ages of 15-24 is greater than that of their male peers with approximately 2000 new infections every week or 27000 new infections annually.

These statistics prove to be the results of an array of unsettling events that can be managed and prevented. Adolescent girls living in rural and semi-urban areas are often preyed upon by older men who take advantage of their financial vulnerabilities. They engage in transactional relationships with these men who oftentimes force unprotected sex on them.

These transactional relationships between adolescent girls and older men are the main factor that results in girls getting infected with HIV. Young women need to take Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which is the antiretroviral drug to prevent HIV negative people from HIV/AIDS infection as a way of protecting themselves.

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