HIV in Malawi

A global health problem in a specific area that I chose to discuss is HIV/AIDS in Malawi. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death of adults and is also a huge factor for the low life expectancy of 54.8 years in Malawi. Malawi’s population of 15.9 million are greatly affected by HIV; as of 2011 an estimated 910,000 people were living with HIV. This spread of HIV/AIDS had a lot to due to the current President, President Banda. Due to the president at the time HIV/AIDS wasn’t of importance because of his beliefs. After President Banda presidency reign the government became a democracy years after. With the democracy HIV/AIDS was finally brought to everyone’s attention that there was an HIV epidemic occurring in Malawi.The Malawian government has mounted an impressive response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in recent years. This has been reflected by a steady decline in HIV prevalence; from 14 percent in 2003 to 10 percent in 2011 Malawi as a culture set HIV/AIDS aside because it was so stigmatized by the government and thought of as a taboo topic. The culture as a whole swept the HIV/AIDS issue under the rug so long that this issue ended up becoming huge and deadly.

An article by an anthropologist working in this area and is fighting against the spread of HIV/AIDS is Dr. Anat Rosenthal. Dr. Anat Rosenthal research focuses primarily on orphans and children of rural Malawian communities. Dr. Anat Rosenthal concentrates mainly on ways to educate and improve individuals through care projects and community infrastructure projects, as well as family strengthening projects. In 2011, Dr. Rosenthal spoke at Southern Methodist University located in Texas. The whole purpose of her speech was to spread the word about her on going efforts in Malawi. Dr. Rosenthal did her speech in hopes that people who begin to understand the impact of this HIV/AIDS epidemic. The ultimate goal of this speech was hopes for her to be able to gain more support and people to help assist her in the HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment which is much needed in Malawi.



Bosch, Hayley. “HIV/AIDS Expert Speaks to Students on Campus.” Presentation at Southern Methodist University of Texas by Dr. Anat Rosenthal. January 27, 2011.

Avert. “HIV & AIDS in Malawi.” Accessed August 6, 2014.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Jenny Hallesy says:

    Anat Rosenthal chose to use fieldwork to study the HIV epidemic in Malawi. She immersed herself in the everyday lives of the people she was studying in order to better understand the cultural and social factors affecting HIV in Malawi. She became close with many of the people in the population, allowing her access to more than just their health care system. By getting so in depth, she was better able to understand their everyday culture, religion, and ethnicity in hopes of being able to determine their influence on this disease. She was able to see their health care practices and how they would treat the disease, but also she was able to see what caused the people to seek out help in the first place. Applying anthropology to this specific global health problem is important because HIV/AIDS has become quite an epidemic in our society. It is also especially important because of the delicate ways that HIV is transmitted and how it affects the way a person views himself. Sexuality is one of the most important factors when considering psychiatric identity and health, and HIV and other sexual transmitted diseases can wreak havoc on these ideologies. The way that sexually transmitted diseases affect a person’s identity are important so taking narratives of those afflicted may help give some insight on how to treat future patients with the same disease.

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