Paid Abstinence

South Africa is offering higher education scholarships, named The Maidens Bursary, to girls who can prove they are virgins, while ignoring the role of men and sexual violence in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“It points to an ignorance if you think HIV is only spread because girls are having too much sex or unprotected sex or if the solution is thought to be controlling women's sexuality," says Tanya Charles, of the South African advocacy group Sonke Gender Justice.

More attention needs to be paid to the gender inequalities that make HIV prevalence so much higher among girls than boys, Charles says.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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