Sugar Surprise

Sugar Surprise

Many young men and women today engage in sexual relationships with older men and women that place them at risk of HIV. The older partners are not necessarily old fat cats they can be five to ten years older than their partners. They can be rich or poor and the gifts they give in exchange for sex can vary from for cool stuff like cellphones, cash and credit cards and popular fashion labels to simple gifts such as snacks or cosmetics in exchange for sex.

Older men and some older women prefer younger sexual partners, believing that they are likely not to have HIV and do not realize the risk that they expose themselves to. For the older person, prestige, status, an enhanced self-esteem of being with a younger lover may motivate them to become involved in a relationship with a younger person.

Young people engaging in these relationships are not passive victims but use their sexuality to gain the gifts and favours they get in exchange for sex to achieve their aspirations and goals of financial security and social mobility. Pressure by friends or families may also pressurize younger people into having sex with older partners.

Young people who have sex with older partners use their sexuality to maintain control over their partners, choosing the number and types of partners with whom they become involved. Often they are more afraid of being 'found out' in their relationships with older people, than of sexually transmitted infections or HIV and young women are often more concerned about pregnancy.

Eliminate the element of the sugar surprise if you are having sex with an older person who says they are not having sex with other people too. We cannot say it loud enough - check out the numbers game the more partners the greater the likelihood that you can get HIV. If you cannot choose an alternative then use your sexuality to negotiate using condoms with your older partner.

Scrutinize - Don't get more than you bargained for from sugars.

About Scrutinize

Scrutinize is a public health campaign which encourages the Youth to "scrutinize" or understand their risk of HIV infection in relation to multiple concurrent partners, correct and consistent condom use, transactional sex (sex for money), intergenerational sex (sugar daddies) and alcohol use.

Scrutinize is a national campaign being undertaken by the JHU Program in South Africa and funded by USAID/PEPFAR.