Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 50: Gender, Poverty and AIDS: Perspectives with Particular Reference to Sub-Saharan Africa
Catherine Campbell and Andrew Gibbs In many contexts, gender and poverty intertwine to undermine women’s ability to avoid HIV infection, access appropriate AIDS care and treatment, care for AIDS-affected loved ones, and engage in collective action to challenge the social circumstances placing their health at risk. Globally, equal numbers of men and women are HIV positive. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), however, women comprise 60 per cent of those infected (UN AIDS, 2008). Moreover women contract HIV much earlier than men, with girls in their early teens up to five times more likely to be infected than boys of the same age group. SSA, the poorest region in the world, is home to 67 per cent of all people living with HIV/ AIDS. Against this background, we will give most of our attention to the heterosexual epidemic in SSA, though many of our arguments will be applicable to other contexts. Poverty alone cannot be regarded as a driver of the pandemic. AIDS is highest in India’s wealthiest states, for example. It is particularly high in Botswana and South Africa, two of Africa’s richest countries. Both are characterised by strong urban–rural economic interchange, good transport links and high professional mobility, all translating into higher incomes and higher levels of HIV in specific settings. In many African countries, HIV transmission has historically been concentrated among the affluent, educated and mobile. This pattern may be changing, with the heaviest burden of AIDS gradually shifting towards socially disadvantaged groups, especially poor young women. Citing...
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