Sexual violence and HIV

SOURCE: Crime, violence and injury in South Africa: 21st century solutions for child safety
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2012
TITLE AUTHOR(S): A.Davids, N.Ncitakalo, S.Pezi, N.Zungu
SOURCE EDITOR(S): A.Van Niekerk, S.Suffla, M.Seedat
KEYWORDS: CHILDREN'S ACT, CHILDREN'S RIGHTS, HIV/AIDS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, SEXUAL ABUSE, SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR, VIOLENCE
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7438
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/3242

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Abstract

This Chapter aims to provide a comprehensive synopsis and, in some instances, a critique of recent research conducted in the field of HIV/AIDS and sexual violence focusing specifically on children's vulnerability and the consequences of the HIV/AIDS and violence nexus. In South Africa, sexual violence is aimed at the most vulnerable members of society, namely children, increasing their risk of HIV infection. Sexual violence and coercion amongst children and adolescents may increase susceptibility to HIV insofar as non-consensual sex is associated with increased genital trauma and coital injuries, the likelihood of anal penetration, the vulnerability especially of adolescent girls and the age difference between partners. Research studies have shown that HIV infection rates among adolescents are on average five times higher among girls than among boys. This can be attributed to sexual violence perpetrated on children which includes: sexual abuse of children, forced sex, sexual abuse of people with mental and physical disabilities as well as sexual exploitation. Child trafficking has also been found to be another grave phenomenon that places children at risk of sexual violence and in turn increases their risk of becoming infected with HIV. Although there have been efforts to protect children through interventions, policies and the use of laws such as the Children's Act, it is recommended that much more needs to be done to enforce and implement these policies and laws to ensure that the agencies whose responsibility it is to protect children, are functional.