‘Sugar Daddies’ and HIV in Africa (Scientific American)


[[{“type”:“media”,“view_mode”:“media_large”,“fid”:null,“attributes”:{“class”:“media-image alignright size-full wp-image-5618”,“typeof”:“foaf:Image”,“style”:“”,“width”:“100”,“height”:“100”,“alt”:“Scientific American logo”}}]]Examining a common assumption about the transmission of HIV in Africa, the Geisel School of Medicine’s Tim Lahey poses a question in his recent opinion piece in Scientific American: “Ultimately, the real question is whether intergenerational sex drives the burgeoning HIV epidemic in Africa and other developing world countries?”

Citing research findings, he writes, “Contrary to expectations, the high-quality, longitudinal study showed that participation in intergenerational sex did not impact the likelihood of contracting HIV infection.”

Lahey, an associate professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology, says the research does not exonerate intergenerational sex as a factor in the transmission of HIV in Africa, and adds that more research must be done.

However, he writes, “the most critical implication of this study is that researchers and public health authorities should be cautious about making assumptions about sexual behavior in Africa, particularly when those assumptions travel across national or continental boundaries.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 9/4/14 by Scientific American.

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