World Cup: England fans risk HIV vice threat in South Africa

December 13th, 2009 - 4:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Cape Town (S. Africa), Dec.13 (ANI): Cape Town based hooker Isabella sells her body for just eight pounds a time near the Cape Town stadium, and the worry for England fans is not about her being available, but the fact that she is HIV positive.

Twenty-one-year-old Isabella is desperately poor, and for hundreds of girls like her, next year’s World Cup is an exciting opportunity and an answer to their prayers.

“All the girls are so excited. Everybody is preparing herself because next year we will be working all the hours in the day,” News of The World quotes Isabella, as saying.

South Africa is bracing itself for an estimated 42,000 new HIV infections over the World Cup period, as half a million football fans join the ultimate party.

Around 50,000 of the fans will come from England, expecting to have the time of their lives.

A News of the World investigation has exposed the grimy underbelly of the host nation.

The crime figures are terrifying. Last year in South Africa there were an incredible 18,148 murders; 316,625 robberies; 203,777 serious assaults and 14,915 car jackings. Credit card fraud and other scams are also rife.

The appalling poverty of the families drives them to seek profit from next year’s games - in any way they can. For prostitutes like Isabella, that means selling their bodies. The dirt-poor mum has sex with up to 20 men a day and believes the flood of fans will bring the promise of a better life.

She’s already planning to up her rate by to 40 pounds a time for wealthier visitors. But, her cheery optimism masks a deeper sadness.

Isabella tries to insist on having sex with condoms, but sometimes her clients won’t take no for an answer.

Speaking quickly because of her nerves, she said: “Men will offer you ten times as much to have sex without a condom. “Sometimes, they get violent and you can’t say no. Once I got into a car with a man, and he started shouting, ‘You bitch, open your legs’. Then he started punching my thighs and my stomach. I still have the scars.”

Isabella has no choice but to keep on working.

She lives in the appalling slums of Khayelitsha, where 700,000 people live just miles away from the glitzy Cape Town stadium. Isabella lives with her son and two others, crammed into a tiny hut built of zinc and wood.

The people living here - all black - share a tap with 200 other families, and go to the toilet in buckets.

Isabella is not interested in football, just desperate to earn more money. Her torment started when her boyfriend deserted her and her baby. She found it impossible to find work, so travelled to Cape Town to sell sex.

South Africa is shipping in millions of extra condoms for the World Cup in a bid to protect party-goers. Charities still fear the supply will run out with awful results. A staggering 5.7 million people live with HIV in South Africa - the worst rate in the world.

International Development Minister Mike Foster said: “South Africa has been deeply affected by HIV and AIDS but there are signs of progress. The level of new HIV infections has stabilised.” (ANI)

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