International AIDS Programs Must Address ‘Cross-Generational’ Sex, Opinion Piece Says
Cross-generational sex, in which older married men seek young girls for sex, has become a "new cultural norm" in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and represents a "deeply troubling" trend in a region where young girls are up to six times as likely as boys their age to be HIV-positive, Edward Green, research scientist at Harvard School of Public Health and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, and John Berman, senior director of Population Services International's international AIDSMARK HIV prevention program, write in a Washington Times opinion piece. It is "past time" for government leaders to address the problem, and President Bush should include the issue as a "central component" of his global AIDS initiative "no matter how uncomfortable the idea makes some people," Green and Berman say. Efforts to combat the problem must include communication campaigns that emphasize "abstinence (for youth) and faithfulness to one partner (for everyone else)," as well as programs that address the "social norms that perpetuate cross-generational sex," Green and Berman say. In addition, governments need to enact and enforce stricter legal penalties against statutory rape and sex with minors, Green and Berman conclude (Green/Berman, Washington Times, 12/28/03).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.