OurHealth

Men, power & money key to women’s HIV risk, youth say

Black women hardest hit by lockdown
Women putting braids (File Image)
Written by Thabo Molelekwa

Young women make up about 25 percent of all new HIV infections in South Africa. This Women’s Month, we ask young women and men why they think young women are so vulnerable to the virus.

Nomthandazo Kumalo works with the Treatment Action Campaign to do HIV and sex education at East Rand schools, hoping to reach South Africa's most vulnerable population when it comes to HIV - other young women.

Nomthandazo Kumalo works with the Treatment Action Campaign to do HIV and sex education at East Rand schools, hoping to reach South Africa’s most vulnerable population when it comes to HIV – other young women.

The latest national household HIV survey by the Human Sciences Research Council shows that almost quarter of all new infections in South Africa occur among young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years.

New infections among this group of women are more than four times those seen in their male peers due to a range of factors.

Science tells us that women’s anatomy makes them more vulnerable to contracting the virus. Research says that a range of other factors including gender-based violence, unequal power dynamics in relationships and poverty exacerbate this biological vulnerability.

This Women’s Month, we ask young women and men why they think young women are more vulnerable to HIV.

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An edited version of this story also appeared on Health24

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98