The HIV/Aids prevalence statistics in my home country can be disheartening, however in her fight to mitigate the effects of the disease, Swaziland has one of the highest rates of Anti-Retroviral coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa.
HIV infection rates do not affect all demographics equally. Of the 200,000 adults with HIV/Aids, 110,000 of those are women. Low condom use, intergenerational sex, transactional sex, gender inequalities and gender-based violence are some of the causes of the prevalence of HIV. The incidence rate increases dramatically for the women aged 15-24 demographic. Intergenerational sex between young, impressionable women, significant portions of which is rape under law, is a cause for concern with 14% of young women having high risk sex with men 10 years or older.
Polygamous marriages are commonplace in Swaziland. Child marriages as well, usually traditionally. Because these cultural practices leave women as subservient to their husbands in the marriages, they result in difficulty negotiating condom use. The added “quid pro quo” nature of many child marriages puts these girls in an even more precarious position when it comes to insisting on condom use.
That is why it is imperative that we protect the girl-child if we want to see a Swaziland capable of curbing the prevalence of HIV in her borders.tumblr_nyobofmdek1ulvt45o1_540

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