In Africa, where the rate of HIV infection continues to grow, there's a new technique to prevent the transmission of the virus among young women. We are not talking about drugs or PSA. But about money. The last state to adopt this technique is Zimbabwe, where the World Bank has agreed to pay the teenager on condition that they renounce to have sex with the "sugar daddies".
These "sugar daddies", as they are nicknamed, are simply older men who pay to buy or rent a teenager lover.
Sometimes they are children (given that the age range considered goes from
13 to 22 years old) who accept to have sex with older men simply because they are looking
for money. And the "Sweet Daddies" ensure the girls a monthly payment of $ 6.5. The problem is that in a country like Malawi, where one adult in eight is HIV positive, the industry of sugar daddies becomes the main transmission of HIV infection. That's why the World Bank has formed a sample of 3,800 girls aged 13 to 22 years and has divided into two groups. In
the first group the girls were receiving on average $ 10 per month and the
payment of school fees as long as they were attending classes regularly. In the second group, nobody received anything. After a year and a half, in the group of girls paid for going to school the HIV infection was lower by 60%.
The measure has received much criticism because despite the good results, it means to bribe a person to induce good behavior. But the results were better than expected. Mayra Buvinic, the World Bank's director of gender and development, says it clearly: "It is obvious, but it never occured to anybody to give girls cash to prevent transactional sex." Buvinic ensures this approach to AIDS prevention is one of the few who has had significant effects. So much that after one year, the girls receiving the money from the World Bank no longer had relationships with "sugar daddies" but with boys only two years older. And the technique seems to work so well that in other countries, like Zimbabwe, was introduced the same program.
In July of 2010 during the World Summit on AIDS, in Vienna, were presented two studies (one conducted precisely in Malawi and another in Tanzania) which showed that among young women who were paid not to have sex the HIV rates were much lower than in other groups within the same community. According to Damien de Walque, who led the study, the results were "encouraging and mean that we should further test this idea in other settings and maybe on a larger scale."
Not everyone has accepted these studies and these practices with enthusiasm, declaring that influencing sexual behavior could be very dangerous and that in this way nobody remove the "sugar daddies" problem, but these men are simply replaced in another way. But in a world in which every two people receiving life-saving treatment against AIDS, five more are infected, strategies like these become essential to avoid, especially among the very poor people, that the disease is transmitted like wildfire.
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