The Impact of Globalization on the Spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa

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Throughout history, the black people of South Africa have been oppressed by the country's apartheid government. In 1994, the apartheid era ended as the new, democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, was sworn into office. Although the abolition of the apartheid era was an enormous turn-around for africa' class='brand-secondary'>South Africa, throughout this transformation, a new underlying situation threatened the endurance of the country; a situation that would prove to be an even "more formidable foe than apartheid" (Kapp, p1202 2004). This threat has evolved into the full-blown pandemic of the HIV/AIDS virus.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of the current HIV/AIDS situation in South Africa, explain several programs that have been initiated by international organizations to aid the country, and explain the impact globalization has had on the awareness of this disease, and how the organizations are using this effect to their advantage.

To understand the efforts being made to help South Africa control this pandemic, an understanding of what the country is facing is essential. "The virus is like a snake," said Nomawethu Ngalimawe, a woman from a township outside of Cape Town, "It is killing everyone - mothers and children - and it moves in the dark and in secret" (Kapp, p1202, 2004). Ngalimawe took in her sister's orphan after she and her husband died from the circumstances of AIDS. Not long ago, Ngalimawe discovered that she also has the disease. Although her story is tragic, it is, unfortunately, a reality for many who live in South Africa at this time, especially women. The disease, in fact, is affecting women more and more. In Africa, "women now make up 60 percent of people living with HIV" (www.worldbank.org). This poses a serious threat to the development of the country "given that women are the main caregivers and the source of household labor, their illness means the collapse of family care and household income" (www.worldbank.org).

Given the rate as to which this disease is spreading, organizations such as HIV Management Services project that by the year 2008, more than 500,000 South Africans "will die of AIDS each year" (www.aids.org.za/). Also, the average life expectancy, which was about 60 years in 1998, is expected to fall "to around 40 years" (www.aids.org.za/) in 2008.

There are various explanations as to why this disease is continuing to spread.

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