South African Grant Scheme Reduces Girls’ Dependence On ‘Sugar Daddies,’ Study Shows

“Government grants to help poor children in South Africa also play an important role in reducing HIV risk from ‘sugar daddies’ who prey on teenage girls, a study said on Tuesday,” Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost reports. “In a wide-ranging probe published in the Lancet Global Health, researchers in Britain and South Africa interviewed 3,500 teenagers and followed this up with another interview a year later,” the news agency writes, noting the study “is the first to analyze a grant scheme that is taking place in real life and on a massive scale, rather than in carefully controlled research conditions.” According to AFP, “These systems ‘can substantially reduce unsafe partner selection by adolescent girls,’ said the paper.” While the program “helped wean girls off dependence on ‘sugar daddies,’ [it] did not reduce their exposure to other HIV risks, such as having unprotected sex when drunk,” nor did the program reduce HIV risk among boys, the news service notes (11/25).