Tuesday, September 05, 2006

HIV/AIDS and Kenyan schoolgirls

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks:

The culture of "sare", or free rides from minibus taxi crews, is one of the causes of HIV infection among Kenyan schoolgirls, according to a new survey by Merlin International, a UK-based medical relief charity.

"The survey revealed that 20 percent of "matatu" [minibus taxi] crews had had sex with at least one schoolgirl in the last 12 months," Merlin's technical co-ordinator, Emma Llewellyn, said on Sunday in the western city of Kisumu, according to The Standard newspaper.

The study covered 176 drivers, touts and conductors during December 2005 in the western Kenyan districts of Bondo and Suba, and concluded that the transport industry accounted for 25 percent of HIV infections annually.

Llewellyn said the crew preferred sex with schoolgirls because they "looked innocent" and hardly suffered from sexual infections. "In return, the girls receive free rides, referred to as "sare", and gifts."

Kenya struggles to combat HIV


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