Sexual violence and HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

According to the UN’s IRIN/PlusNews,

One in three Swazi girls has experienced some form of sexual violence before the age of 18, which often leads to serious social and health problems including HIV and unwanted pregnancies, a new study has found.  […]

An estimated 22 percent of Swazi women aged between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV; the authors noted that sexual violence could be an important route of HIV transmission in high-prevalence countries like Swaziland. […]

Disturbingly, researchers found that in three-quarters of cases, the perpetrators of sexual violence were men or boys related to or known to the girls.

The results of this study — supported by the UN Children’s Fund and the US CDC, and published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet — are shocking, and deeply tragic.  Not surprisingly, in addition to its links to HIV transmission, sexual violence increased girls’ risk of “ever feeling depressed, thoughts of suicide, attempted suicide, unwanted pregnancy, pregnancy complications or miscarriages, sexually transmitted diseases, difficulty sleeping, and alcohol consumption.” 

May God help them.

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~ by h.e.g. on May 16, 2009.

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