YOUTHS TURN TO PROSTITUTION.
On this Caribbean country's white beaches, teen-age and child
prostitutes wearing next to nothing troll the resort areas, frolicking
near foreign tourists to lure their attention away from the emerald
seas, reports AP (Dec. 2, 2002). Poorly educated and immersed in
poverty, they offer themselves for pennies - a desperate act that
activists say is helping spread the AIDS virus in the country. At least
35,000 Dominican youths younger than 19 have turned to prostitution for
survival, and as many as 15% of them could be HIV positive, according to
Mais, a Dominican nongovernmental organization working to end child
prostitution. The Government estimates that at least 130,000 Dominicans
have the human immunodeficiency virus that leads to acquired immune
deficiency syndrome, and more than 52,000 have died from the disease
since 1985. Unlike adult prostitutes who often work at nightclubs and
are required to be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted
diseases, child prostitutes are largely unregulated.