‘Sugar daddies’ and ‘blessers’: A threat to AIDS fight

Lebogang Motsumi caught HIV from a "sugar daddy," in local parlance, a "blesser," an older man who "blesses" a younger, often poorer girl with gifts and expects sexLebogang Motsumi, 27, still remembers the moment when she learnt she had contracted HIV from a man a decade her senior. In South Africa, seven million people live with HIV — and older men are thought to be largely to blame for the shockingly high rate of infections among teenage girls and young women. Age-gap relationships are the engine driving the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, explained Professor Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).



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