Article by: Dumisane Dube
The Department of Basic Education says young girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years old are infected with HIV every week.
The department released a report that revealed that teenage pregnancy increased by 30% higher than the annual average between April 2020 and March 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deputy director-general Dr Granville Whittle said girls are more likely to be affected by HIV.
“Girls are four times more likely to be impacted or affected by HIV compared to boys. 46% of sexual abuse complaints in South Africa are children, 15.1% of all the girls experience rape, sexual harassment, verbal abuse or bullying in schools.”
In the first quarter of 2021, just over 35 000 pregnancies were recorded among young girls aged between 15 and 19 years old.
1053 pregnancies were recorded among children aged between 10 and 14 years old.
Whittle adds that most of these pregnancies and HIV rates are due to statutory rape.
“We want to work with schools and school principals to ensure that the cases are reported, investigated and the perpetrators are brought to book. Often these girls are raped by older men and that’s why they fall pregnant,” said Whittle.
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