Bitter scourge of sugar daddies

HARARE-Shameless old men preying on vulnerable young school girls have become a huge HIV infections.HIV over the years but if this disturbing trend is not curtailed, the success would be reversed.

Amon Mpofu, the National Aids Council Director for Monitoring and Evaluation

The scourge of inter-generational sexual relationships between young girls desperate for cash and sugar daddies ready to splash money around threatens to reverse these gains, said Amon Mpofu, the National Aids Council Director for Monitoring and Evaluation.He was speaking at a recently held HIV media forum organised by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to facilitate engagement between journalists  against HIV.A Zimbabwe Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) carried between October 2015 and August last year shows a co-relation between younger women and older men regarding new HIV infections.Disturbingly, it showed that older men have become a dangerous threat because they are increasingly moving away from their age bracket for sex – in target young girls.This is evidenced by the fact that for women, the HIV incidence rates are higher for girls and younger women than their older counterparts.

For males, older males between 49 and 64 have higher incidence rates than younger males. Incidence rates are linked to new infections, while the prevalence rate combines both new and old infections. “Among females there is a reduction in new cases for the age group 49-64, whereas there is an increase among males in the same age group. There is something happening to older men,”  said Mpofu.“We have to determine what is happening because these new infections are not among their female age mates. The numbers for females aged between 49-64 is going down. It shows that the older men are getting out to an age group outside their own.

“This is where the culprits are. The older males, the sugar daddies are going for young girls, this is what is happening,” said Mpofu.He added: “It means therefore we have to deal with this issue right from the onset, starting with when girls start getting sexually active and are engaging partners much older than them.”Due to Zimbabwe’s rapidly deteriorating economy, many young girls from poor families are left vulnerable, forcing them to submit to older men who use money to sweet talk them into bed.With underfunding besetting tertiary education institutions, some female students desperate for money for food and accommodation have fallen for older men with big wallets.“Women are much disempowered economically.

Most of them are out of employment and men are using their money to buy sex. Some of the men are going to those young girls at tertiary institutions, they are going to primary and secondary schools,” said Mpofu.He said HIV had a gender dynamic in that more females were affected than males. “Ask yourself, why females? They can’t negotiate for condoms? Why are they not protecting themselves against HIV? There are cultural issues, some churches have banned condoms and men have how sex should be done, how frequent it should be done. We need to deal with all these social and economic issues as a country,” said Mpofu.

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