W2 Reflection: HIV-1 Prevalence in Zimbabwean Women

I identify as a Black Shona Zimbabwean woman and so trying to find trends of prevalence within this specific identity was slightly more difficult than anticipated but it was successful! Below is a bar graph showing HIV Prevalence (in percentages) by Gender and Place of Residence from 2010- 2011 in the population of Zimbabwe. 7000 women and 6000 men participated in the survey. It was difficult to find specific racial or ethnic breakdowns of the data, but to give it some context, the racial/ ethnic breakdown as of 2011 was 99% of African descent while the remaining 1% consisted of those of European, Asian and Mixed descent combined. This is quite a sensitive topic as I have many relatives who live well with HIV and some who have passed on due to complications associated with it.


“The coming together of traditional culture with the colonial legacy of men migrating to cities for employment leaving behind their spouses has influenced family structures and sexual relations.” The further influence of traditional culture in gender roles further promotes the spread of HIV, as it is culturally acceptable for men, the breadwinners, to have multiple wives or sexual partners. The importance of sexual relations for procreation also allows the spread of the virus due to lack of protection as well as women having sexual relations for economic and social survival. Lack of education on the disease makes it more difficult as more people are unaware of the problems and issues that we face as a population due the virus. Those that are wealth have more access to that knowledge than those in lower classes of wealth.

From the materials provided for this week, one learns that although race cannot be a biological factor, but social historical actions that have instilled to disenfranchise those in racially marginalized groups such as the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the Pima population, the Eugenics program and the persistence of racial-genetic determinism in research that ties race to certain trends makes it seem like it is biological.

1. HIV/AIDS: The Zimbabwean Situation and Trends, Duri Kerina, Stray-Pedersen Babill, Muller F http://pubs.sciepub.com/ajcmr/1/1/5/index.html

2. How Race Becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequality, Clarence C. Gravlee

3. http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR254/FR254.pdf

4. Unnatural Causes 4- Bad Sugar

One thought on “W2 Reflection: HIV-1 Prevalence in Zimbabwean Women

  1. I love that you personally related to this post and educated yourself about issues that are directly related to you. I liked your explanation of race related illnesses. You mention that race is not a biological factor, although the majority of people within a same race and same geographical location can have similar genetic makeup, can make it seem like race is a biological factor. Typically, social interactions of a certain racial group tend to be passed through generations which can attribute to having a shifted prevalence of a certain illness within a racial group.

    I think it is very important to offer clinical studies when studying illnesses with a racial group. Although, not every person will have the same genetic makeup or mutation that may cause a certain disease, but they could be similar enough to create an effective solution for a large group of people. The more clinical trials we can offer people, the more likely we are to expedite the finding of a cure or improve a solution to health problems. I also believe that a lot of radicalized health disparities revolves around lack of education of that disease. As it becomes more prevalent within that race, the people begin to think that living with that disease is “normal”. If the government can invest time and money in educating the people, we may be able to decrease the number of cases without doing any medical intervention.

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