HIV in Swaziland

I chose the HIV/AIDS in Swaziland as the global health problem. Swaziland has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world at 38.8 percent according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Here HIV is mostly spread through heterosexual sex and most deaths occur among young people. Also in Swaziland women are the hardest hit and account for over half the adults predicted to have HIV. This is could be caused by the Swazi culture. The culture discourages the use of condoms and promotes non-monogamous relationships. Polygamy is common and sexual aggression is prevalent enough that many girls admitted that they were coerced into their first sexual encounter. These factors are what facilitate this health problem.

According to AVERT an international HIV & AIDS charity many different organizations are helping to address the problem. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation began the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program in 2004 and in 2009 the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) launched a free condom and HIV testing campaign to help battle HIV transmission. Also several countries provide funding to Swaziland for HIV prevention activities like United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the European Union. As well as UNADIS and the UN Family also support a variety of HIV prevention activities in Swaziland.

Daniel Halperin is medical anthropologist and an epidemiologist for the Harvard School of Public Health. He was among the first to spotlight signs that male circumcision could be a pivotal link in the AIDS pandemic. He noticed that the regions with the lowest HIV rates were also those where circumcision was also commonly practiced. Doctors have thought for decades that the foreskin is the portal of entry for HIV so Halperin has been trying to raise awareness for circumcision for males to decrease the high HIV prevalence in Swaziland and other parts of Africa. This is being addressed as a low tech way to combat the HIV/AIDS infection.

Sources:

AVERT

http://www.avert.org/aids-swaziland.htm

Harvard School of Public Health

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/spr08/spr08halperin.html

Kaiser Family Foundation

http://www.kff.org/hivaids/upload/7366.pdf

1 thought on “HIV in Swaziland

  1. Daniel Halperin’s theory used in addressing the global health problem of HIV/Aids in Swaziland is that the lack of male circumcision actually increases the changes of contracting HIV. His theory is from a Swaziland cultural standpoint as the different culture groups have different rates of male circumcision. He conducted field research and consultations in order to assess the accuracy of his theory. He also looked at several other research data analysis in his work. He was able to conclude that the lack of male circumcision does have a large impact on the contraction of HIV.

    Applying anthropology to the problem of HIV and Aids in Swaziland was extremely helpful. Anthropologists are trained to look at the big picture. Daniel was able to assess what was most different between the different groups in Swaziland and why one group had a high rate of HIV whereas the neighboring group had a much lower rate of HIV. Without the keen eye of the anthropologist; it is unlikely that this assessment would have been made when it was. Noticing the affects of male circumcision on HIV and spreading the information will hopefully help the culture to increase male circumcisions in Swaziland and therefore decrease the infection rate of HIV.

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