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Research has found worrying levels of sexually transmitted infections, particularly HIV among girls and women between 13-24 years.For example, the South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012 (Shisana et al., 2014)found that among females 15-19 years old, the HIV prevalence was estimated to be eight times that of their male counterparts. Similarly, in their study on the prevalence of HIV, HSV-2 and pregnancy as indicators of high-risk sexual behaviour among high school students in rural South Africa, AbdoolKarrim et al. (2014: 1) note that “…nearly a third of all new HIV infections [in South Africa] occur in 15–24 year olds,with young women in this age group being five to six times more likely to be infected than their male peers,underscoring the importance of adolescents—particularly adolescent girls—as a priority group for evidence-based…interventions (our emphasis).” Yet research and interventions, including debate and dialogue on addressing HIV and AIDS tend to largely exclude the voices of girls and young women. This feminist dialogue seeks to bring together women, across generations, to dialogue about not only the vulnerability of young women in the context of HIV and AIDS, but also their agency in addressing it. More importantly, the dialogue aims to foreground the voices of girls and young women in understanding the issues and identifying strategies for addressing their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.
References: Abdool Karim, Q., Kharsany, ABM, Leask, K., Ntombela, F., Humphries, H., Frohlich, JA. Samsunder, N., Grobler, A., Dellar, R., Abdool Karim, SS (2014). Prevalence of HIV, HSV-2 and pregnancy among high school students in rural KwaZulu-Natal,South Africa: a bio-behavioural cross-sectional survey. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 90 (3). doi:10.1136/sextrans-2014-051548
Shisana, O, Rehle, T, Simbayi LC, Zuma, K, Jooste, S, Zungu N, Labadarios, D, Onoya, D et al. (2014) South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012. Cape Town, HSRC Press.
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Date: 18th July 2016
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