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Intergenerational Sex Among Older Men, Younger Women Driving HIV Epidemic In Southern Africa, Research Shows

Agence France-Presse: ‘Sugar daddies’ and ‘blessers’: A threat to AIDS fight
“…The man who infected [27-year-old Lebogang Motsumi] with [HIV] was a ‘sugar daddy’ or, in local parlance, a ‘blesser’ — an older man who ‘blesses’ a younger, often poorer girl with money and gifts and expects sex in return. The danger of the ‘blessers’ [was] in the spotlight at the International AIDS Conference in Durban … In South Africa, seven million people live with HIV — and older men are thought to be largely to blame for the shockingly high rate of infections among teenage girls and young women…” (Van Schie, 7/21).

The Guardian: Village girls fight scourge of the ‘blessers’ — whose gifts ruin their lives
“…Generally married, always older, blessers are men who use their money to control young women. The term has become so entrenched that there are four ‘levels’ of blesser: at the lowest level the man offers mobile phone data cards and visits to drinking clubs. Then there’s gifts or much-coveted hair extensions. At the highest levels phones, cars, and trips abroad are offered. Professor Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research, told last week’s International AIDS Conference in Durban that intergenerational sex, led by blessers, was driving HIV infection rates…” (McVeigh, 7/23).

NPR: The HIV Trap: A Woman’s Lack Of Control
“…That’s exactly what’s driving the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa: women’s lack of control. HIV is often considered a disease that affects gay men, drug users, and prostitutes. That’s true in many places. But in Southern Africa the epidemic has taken a surprising turn. Young women — at many economic and educational levels — are bearing the brunt of the epidemic. AIDS is the biggest killer of young women in Southern Africa…” (Doucleff, 7/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.