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Tanzania / Prevention: Ministry in HIV drive to protect teenager girls

08 Jul, 2009
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By: Bernard Lugongo

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has come up with a new strategy to fight HIV transmission, targeting old men who seduce young girls to have sex with them. According to the ministry, girls aged between 15 to 19, are more vulnerable to HIV infection through cash and gifts they get from old men who might be infected by the virus. National Aids Control Programme operating under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, is now focused on educating old men who entice young girls.

Speaking at the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) on Saturday, the Commission's communications officer, Dr May Bukuku, said many old men believe that young girls are free form the virus. "Generally, women are in a weaker position when it comes to use or not to use a condom during sexual intercourse," she said, adding that this creates risky choice for women.

Dr Bukuku said the issue of cross-generational sex, whereby old people tend to make love with younger girls, has become a major factor for HIV transmission to the new generation. "We believe that a campaign against cross-generational sex, we lead to HIV free generation in future," said Dr Bukuku. The campaign, dubbed 'Fataki,' was essentially introduced to alert the society of social habits that exposes many young girls to the disease. 'Fataki' is a name given to old men who who are HIV positive, pray on young girls for sex. "The so called sugar daddies are very dangerous and young girls must be wary and stay away from them," she warned.

There was a big relationship between the Fataki behaviour and transmission of sexual diseases in the country, she noted adding that most girls who faaall pray to Fataki's have sexual partners of their age. Ms Subira Shoko, also communications officer the Aids Commission, said the campaign would encourage the society and respective families to intervane when they see an adult hanging around with young girls. He said the campaign also educates girls to refuse gifts like cell phones, clothes, jewels, meal or drinks invitation and motor vehicles offers.