"Blessers" and sugar daddies must stop exploiting young girls and destroying our nation" says KZN Health MEC, as HIV and STI infection numbers soar

Parents called upon to have "difficult" conversations with their children about sex- or live to regret not doing so

  • Girls urged to forget about material things such as fancy mobile phones and weaves, and focus on education
  • Province's new AIDS awareness billboards meant to engender change

04 December 2022

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane says old men must stop "destroying the nation" through the sexual exploitation of young girls - a trend that she says is largely responsible for the Province's growing rate of HIV and sexually-transmitted infections among girls aged between 15 and 24.

According to shocking statistics from the Department's official records, between January and October this year:

  • Out of 727 466 women between the ages of 15 to 24 who got tested for HIV in KwaZulu-Natal, 15 665 tested positive. Although this amounts to a positivity rate of 2%, the MEC says more than 15 000 young women testing positive for HIV is extremely worrying;
  • At least 15 girls aged between 10 and 14 were found to have STIs;
  • A further 322 girls aged between 15 and 19 also tested positive for STIs.
  • An additional 702 women between the ages of 20 and 24 were found to have STIs.
  • Within the same period, a total of 6 417 pregnant women tested positive for syphilis (a potentially life-threatening disease that can cause premature delivery; severe damage to the heart, brain or other organs.) This is already higher than the 4 147 women who tested positive for syphilis during the whole 2021/22 financial year.

Speaking on the Department's weekly multimedia programme KZN Health Chat at Magabheni (near Umkomaas) on Friday, MEC Simelane said: "Our Provincial statistics paint a shocking picture about HIV and STIs among girls and young women in our Province. It is extremely concerning, and underscores the urgency with which society needs to come to the party and help us turn this situation around."

"We always encourage young people to abstain from sex for as long as possible, and for those who can't abstain, to use condoms."

"We're also encouraging parents or guardians to get more involved in initiating and deepening the conversation with their children about sex in general, sexuality, and the dangers of sexually transmitted infections. It's never an easy conversation, but it's one that absolutely needs to happen."

As part of the Province's new HIV/Aids awareness strategy, MEC Simelane recently unveiled a brand new street billboards HIV messaging campaign that targets young people, written in a language that they speak.

The new billboards carry messages such as:

  • I-Skoon Siyabhayizisa - Condomise;
  • Sihamba Ngolayini: Sidla Ama-ARV Waya-Waya, Sihlale Si-Sharp; and
  • Cupha Isisoka Bhinca Lami, Ukhuphuke NgoShuni we-Condom

"The billboards are very catchy, and carry fresh messaging. We felt that it was important to change our messaging, and speak to young people in a way that they understand. I've already been stopped several times, by people obviously intrigued by these billboards. We've started a conversation, and that's precisely what we had set out to do. That is one way in which we can begin to engender behavioural change."

Meanwhile, the MEC chided the so-called "blessers" and "Sugar Daddies" as predators who prey on young girls sexually, infect them with diseases - including HIV - impregnate them, and then cast them away.

"If you're a young girl and you're in a relationship with someone as old as your own father, that relationship is not equal. You won't be able to negotiate safe sex and say, 'please protect me and protect yourself.' This is an older person, and chances are, he has money. So, you become dependent on them.

"We're saying Phansi Ngama-Blesser, Phansi... Phansi ngo-Sugar Daddy Phansi... They must go to their agemates. If they continue sleeping with these young girls, they're destroying our nation. These are the mothers of tomorrow... the homemakers who must take the nation forward. If we don't protect them, our nation will not prosper.

"We are also saying to girls, don't look at who's carrying an iPhone or Samsung... or wearing a 9-inch weave. These are the kinds of pressures that steer or children towards these Blessers... because they have the financial means to lure them and buy them some of these things. It is vital for our children to be content and live within their means. The best way to change your life is to get an education. When you get an education and secure yourself a job, you'll be able to afford all of these things, whereas if you want to jump the gun and get these things too early, then you'll have a problem."

Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health


Quick Links

This page last edited on 05 December, 2022

The materials on this website may be copied for non-commercial use as long as our copyright notice and website address are included.

Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved - KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

Disclaimer Website by KZN Department of Health