Sexual violence aimed at girls, women in Swaziland linked to high HIV/AIDS risk, other health issues

A new report commissioned by UNICEF and CDC and recently published in the journal Lancet found that one in three girls in Swaziland has experienced sexual violence by age 18, which can lead to serious health issues such as HIV, IRIN/PlusNews reports.

In addition, the researchers found that 22% of Swazi women between ages 15 and 24 are HIV-positive, noting that sexual violence could be a common HIV transmission mode among women in high-burden countries such as Swaziland.

Sexual violence was defined as forced sex, coerced sex and forced touching. Five percent of girls had experienced forced sex before age 18, and coerced intercourse was reported by 9% of girls, according to the report. In addition, almost 90% of girls who had experienced sexual violence said that it first occurred between ages 13 and 17. The authors recommended that efforts to address issues surrounding sexual violence should "focus on prevention of perpetration by men of sexual violence, and since sexual- and intimate-partner violence might have common roots, local and national initiatives could be reviewed, adapted and scaled up for this purpose." According to the researchers, three-quarters of the boys and men who perpetrated the sexual violence were related or known to the girls (IRIN/PlusNews, 5/13).

An abstract of the report is available online.


Kaisernetwork.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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