Women are more at risk than ever of HIV infection as teenagers are having sex earlier, with different partners and using condoms less – and with alcohol fuelling all age groups towards unsafe sex and violence.
Experts presented their findings on gender and substance abuse in relation to HIV at the South African Medical Research Council’s impact forum this week.
Professor Leickness Simbayi, head of the HIV/Aids, STI and TB research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council, pointed out some alarming trends.
More teenagers are having sex before the age of 15, with 16 percent of boys having had their first sexual experience while 14 or younger.
Age-disparate sexual relationships are also on the rise, with more teenagers between 15 and 19 having sex with a partner who is at least five years older.