At least 28% of schoolgirls in South Africa are HIV positive because 'sugar daddies' are taking advantage of them, the country's health minister warned today.
In contrast, Aaron Motsoaledi highlighted the fact that only 4% of schoolboys were HIV positive, The Sowetan newspaper reported.
Mr Motsoaledi released the figures at a public meeting at Carolina in South Africa's Mpumalanga province.
He said: "It is clear that it is not young boys who are sleeping with these girls. It is old men. We must take a stand against sugar daddies because they are destroying our children."
He said 94,000 schoolgirls fell pregnant in South Africa in 2011, with around 77 000 having abortions at public facilities.
"We can no longer live like that. We want to put an end to it, " he declared.
Some of the girls who became pregnant and tested positive for HIV were reportedly between the ages of 10 and 14.
Mr Motsoaledi has been widely praised for his efforts to help stop the spread of HIV, with the country backing the world's largest anti-retroviral programme since Jacob Zuma made him health minister in 2009.
Around 10% of South Africa's population is now living with HIV, official figures show.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies