The South African Health Minister says nearly 30% of schoolgirls in his country are HIV positive compared with just 4% of boys, because older men are exploiting the girls.
Aaron Motsoaledi says it is clear the girls are not having sex with boys their own age, but with men he describes as "sugar daddies".
Mr Motsoaledi quoted some disturbing statistics - nearly 100,000 schoolgirls became pregnant in 2011 and nearly 80,000 of them had abortions in hospitals or clinics.
He urged South Africans to take a stand against older men who he says are destroying the country's children, the BBC reports.
Mr Motsoaledi has been praised for his efforts in curbing HIV.
Since President Jacob Zuma appointed him as Health Minister four years ago, South Africa has run the largest anti-retroviral programme in the world.