Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Government grants reduce HIV risks for teenage girls in South Africa

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
A study finds that English government grants in Southern Africa reduce HIV risks for teenage girls. The study involved 3,515 young people between 2009-12 in urban and rural parts of two South African provinces. They found teenage girls from households receiving grants were two-thirds less likely to take much older boyfriends, and half as likely to have sex in exchange for money, food, school fees or shelter.

A large-scale study, led by Oxford University, has identified that government grants in Southern Africa can reduce major HIV risks for teenage girls. Their findings are published in the journal, The Lancet Global Health.

The researchers say that half of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa are among young people, and girls are two to three times more likely to be infected than boys. One of the major causes is 'sugar daddies': older boyfriends who give food, money or pay for school fees in return for sex. These men are more likely to be HIV-positive, and their young girlfriends less able to request that they use a condom.

The study finds that the risk of these sugar daddy relationships is significantly reduced in households that receive government child support grants. The longitudinal study, conducted in 2009-12, involved a team of researchers from UK and South African universities. They interviewed 3,515 teenagers, with 97% of them followed up a year later. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with children in four urban and rural areas in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape -- all in very poor areas with high rates of HIV infection. Households that received child-focused grants were compared with those that did not. The study found that teenage girls from households receiving grants were two-thirds less likely to take much older boyfriends, and half as likely to have sex in exchange for food, money or school fees.

The South African government currently gives a child support grant of around $35 a month per household to 11 million children under 18, and a foster child grant worth around $96 a month to another 600,000 nationally. These findings have major implications for HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. Government grants in South Africa have expanded massively, and currently reach about 70% of eligible children according to studies by the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town. If all those potentially eligible in South Africa were reached, 77,000 new relationships of teenage girls with sugar daddies could be prevented each year, says the study.

The study adds to emerging evidence from scientific trials from other African countries. In Malawi, cash transfers to teenage girls resulted in a lower prevalence of HIV because girls then chose to have younger sexual partners. In Tanzania, money was given conditionally on a negative sexually transmitted infection test result, which also resulted in lower HIV risks. However, this study in South Africa shows that such child-focused cash transfers can work not only in carefully controlled research trials, but also in the real world on a massive scale through government grant systems. Many sub-Saharan African countries are considering introducing social welfare systems for poor households with children, so these findings showing this is money well spent come at a particularly significant time.

Lead author Dr Lucie Cluver, from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, said: 'This study shows that as long as they are given enough money to survive, girls will choose not to have a sugar daddy. It also shows how valuable it is to give not only to younger children but also to teenagers, who are most at risk of HIV-infection.'

Government grants do not provide the whole solution to the problem of HIV-infection among young people, adds the study. It also found that grants did not reduce risks for boys, and did not reduce other risks for girls, such as the likelihood of having unprotected sex or having sex when drunk.

Professor Mark Orkin, from the School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, said: 'Child support grants do not make teenagers more sensible when it comes to safer sex. But what they can do is to provide enough financial security for girls that they do not have to choose their sexual partners through economic necessity'.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lucie Cluver, Mark Boyes, Mark Orkin, Marija Pantelic, Thembela Molwena, Lorraine Sherr. Child-focused state cash transfers and adolescent risk of HIV infection in South Africa: a propensity-score-matched case-control study. The Lancet Global Health, 2013; 1 (6): e362 DOI: 10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70115-3

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Government grants reduce HIV risks for teenage girls in South Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125201218.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2013, November 25). Government grants reduce HIV risks for teenage girls in South Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125201218.htm
University of Oxford. "Government grants reduce HIV risks for teenage girls in South Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125201218.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins