Table of Contents
- Factors Leading to HIV-AIDS in South Africa
- Price for a
- Transition from the Traditional Payment of Dowry for Marriage to Gifts
- Rising Levels of Unemployment in South Africa
- The Increase in Gender Inequality in the Partaking of Social Amenities
- Increasing Numbers of Unmarried People
- Geographical Changes
- Factors Leading to HIV/ AIDS in India
- Transactional Sex
- The Spread by Foreigners
- Polygamy and Polyandry
- Common Themes across South Africa and India
- Related Free Sociology Essays
Considering the rampant presence of HIV all over the world, scholars have dedicated themselves to uncovering the possible origins of AIDS in the world. In Africa, for example, researchers have linked the sex trade, especially in Congo, as the foundation of HIV AIDS in Africa. The prevalence, however, is most associated with polygamous marriages in the African continent. Similar research has shown that in countries like South Africa, India, and China engaging in sex with multiple partners is the cause of HIV-AIDS prevalence. The paper will seek to establish the Social Origins of HIV AIDS with a particular focus on India and South Africa which are amongst some of the countries with the highest prevalence of AIDS in the World.
Factors Leading to HIV-AIDS in South Africa
The first HIV/ AIDS case was reported in the year 1983. In the same year, the first death case was reported as a result of the epidemic. Forty-six more cases of AIDS were reported in the year 1986, thus creating fear amongst the residents of South Africa (Hunter, 2015). Unlike in India however, AIDS had become more prevalent among homosexuals than the female sex workers. South Africa, traces the Origins of AIDS to sexual relationships between men. The rate of the epidemic rose by a margin of 1 percent in the year 1990, 3 percent in the year 1996 and 10 percent in the year 1999 (Hunter, 2007). Some of the factors that have caused South Africa to be rated as the most exposed to HIV include homosexuality, poverty and am increase of unmarried people.
Transition from the Traditional Payment of Dowry for Marriage to Gifts
South Africa has struggled with ending the poverty levels in the country for a long time. The economic hardships that were caused by poverty lead many young people to seek favors from the wealthy in exchange for sex. The discriminative policies introduced by the apartheid regime restricted housing and other social services and forced Black Africans to participate in prostitution and practically beg from the Whites (Hunter, 2007). The situation is aggravated by the fact that unlike in the past, when fathers had great wealth to give to their children, which would then assist them in paying the bride’s price, the privilege no applies in the new millennium. Because of that, most couples today do not live a life of commitment to each other and are more prone to cheating. Engaging in acts of adultery leads to concurrent sexual acts, which eventually lead to the spread of HIV. The giving gifts, a young man demonstrates his love. Without it there is no sense of commitment among the parties involved in a marriage. HIV, therefore, spreads very fast in such kinds of sham marriages.
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Rising Levels of Unemployment in South Africa
In South Africa, the levels of unemployment continued to rise since the 1970s. Many women have turned to prostitution for survival, though it is very risky in terms of contracting AIDS. The unemployment comes as consequence of liberalization of trade and apartheid. The discriminative policies against the black people left them hopeless. The unemployment levels in South Africa today reach 8.4 million with only 6.6 million people employed full-time (Kim et al., 2000). It is these shocking rates that have led most youths to engage in transactional sex as a form of self-employment. Many of those who engage use unprotected sex to earn more money since it is valued higher, thus increasing the prevalence of HIV-AIDS. Unemployment is, therefore, to blame for the prevalence of AIDS in South Africa. In most districts, for example, Black people work in mines under very tough conditions, while the Whites do white collar jobs mostly. Such factors increase the rate at which AIDS spreads.
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The Increase in Gender Inequality in the Partaking of Social Amenities
Tough economic conditions experienced throughout South Africa coupled with the rising inequality in the exploitation of social and economic resources have led many women in South Africa to suffer double discrimination. They suffer because of the very fact that they are Black and because they are women (Hunter, 2007). Young ladies today are more dependent on men than before. The employers in South Africa have more confidence in men on the job market than in women which increases the gender pay gap. Further, the inclusion of unmarried women in the work force has widened the gap even further leading to great destruction of social values. The overdependence on men for the provision of essentials in combination with unmarried women joining the employment sphere forced many married men out of their jobs (Kim et al., 2000). Their wives have to sell their bodies to other rich men to support their families, putting them at risk of contracting HIV /AIDS.
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Increasing Numbers of Unmarried People
As of the year 2010, the number of people in marriages only reached half of their number in 1960. The number has been slightly increasing each year and was at an all time high in 2015. The rise in the number of unmarried people of marriageable age is an issue of concern in terms of AIDS. Most poor people, for example, decide against engage in marriage in South Africa for fear of inability to support their families, which leads them to venture into prostitution. The women are left with no choice except chasing after rich men to get money. Most transactional sex cases occur outside of marriages and modern unions are established for the love of money and gifts rather than societal values and responsibilities. Therefore, diminishing marriage rates are to blame for the spread of prostitution and AIDS in South Africa.
The movement of both men and women from rural areas to urban centers has contributed significantly towards the rising rates of HIV. Most women have refused to stay in their rural homes as housewives and seek jobs in urban centers. When they reach the cities, however, they find life to be too expensive. They become so marginalized in the towns that they are forced to seek favors from men (Hunter, 2007). Such trends eventually lead them into commercial sex and puts them at risk of HIV. The migration of foreigners into South Africa has also played a negative role as they engage in bribing ladies for sex, thus spreading AIDS.
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Factors Leading to HIV/ AIDS in India
The first case of HIV was reported in the year 1986 by Dr. Suniti Solomon in Tamil Nadu. The shocking revelation was that the bearer of the virus was one of the commercial sex workers in the town of Chennai. The same year, grievous symptoms of a deadly epidemic started showing up all over India and spreading at a very high rate. At the time, there were many foreigners touring India. Some of them chose to engage in sexual activities with commercial sex workers causing the beginning of HIV AIDS epidemic in India. In the year 1987, approximately 14 cases of the HIV were diagnosed. Some of the main causes of AIDS include sex with commercial workers, spread by foreigners, polygamy, and unprotected sex between members of the same sex.
One of the main causes of HIV AIDS in India leading to its listing as the third most at risk country is the increase in transactional sex workers. The poor state of India’s economy drives many of its men and women to engage in prostitution as a source of livelihood (Karnik, 2001). As of 2015, the number of women engaging in commercial sex stood at three million. The shocking factor, however, is that most of these women are girls between the age of twelve and sixteen. A significant number of sex workers engage in unprotected sex.
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The Spread by Foreigners
The first case of HIV /AIDS in the world was not diagnosed in India raising the proposition that the possible cause of HIV AIDS in India is the migration of foreigners into India for business purposes (Karnik, 2001). Most of these visitors, majority being from European countries, decided to settle in cities such as Tamil Nadu. Due to their idleness, they decided to engage in sexual relations with locals (Kim et al., 2000). Those, who were not lucky, used commercial sex workers’ services. That eventually led to the spread of HIV AIDS in India. Therefore, India mostly blames foreigners for the HIV pandemic within its borders.
Polygamy and Polyandry
Traditionally, the Indian society allowed both polygamy and polyandry. Polygamy refers to men marrying more than one woman while polyandry refers to women engaging in sexual relationships with more than one male partner. The traditional marriage patterns in India necessitated the fast growth of AIDS. With the men and women engaging in constant unprotected sex with different patterns, the chances of the spreading of the epidemic were high, especially considering that in the early 1970s and 80s there was no HIV testing in India (Karnik, 2001).
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Men engaging in sexual relationships with other men is commonly believed to be the most probable means under which HIV/ AIDS is spread (Verma & Collumbien, 2004). In 2014, the prevalence rate of HIV amongst male homosexuals flactualted between 7 and 16 percent. Although the government of India states that the epidemic had nothing to do with homosexual acts and could be prevented by use of condoms and proper education, the United Nations estimates the number of homosexuals in India at 3 million. West Bengal, Delhi, and Gujarat are some of the districts with the biggest number of homosexuals suffering from HIV- AIDS. Furthermore, 15 percent of male homosexuals engage in transactional sex. Amongst the men engaging in sex with men, the ones engaging in sex for money stood at the highest risk of contracting AIDS. The second most affected group comprises those engaging in sex with fellow men without protection. In India, for example, 35 percent of gay men engage in unprotected anal sex with other men. Therefore, homosexuality is one of the most prevalent factors causing AIDS.
Research shows that because of the rising rates of the poverty in India, most women are forced to seek money from men (Kim et al., 2000). The culture has led to an insatiable sexual desire amongst most women making prostitution a source of employment as well as a hobby. Due to poverty most women are not in control of their sexuality, which places them at a very great risk of contracting HIV/ AIDS. Most poor women are forced to engage in sex without protection as a result of lack of decision making power and financial need. Unprotected commercial sex exposes women to the danger of HIV.
Common Themes across South Africa and India
Similarities in the causes of AIDS in both India and South Africa have been noted. Some of the common themes across both India and South Africa include poverty, homosexuality, transactional sex, and polygamy. In both of these countries, the first cases of AIDS were reported in the 1980s. The first cases of HIV in the world were not reported in these countries, do the migration of foreigners played a role. Additionally, cases of homosexuality as the root cause of AIDS have been reported in both countries (“Global report,” 2013). The commercialization of sex due to poverty in India and South Africa are also common to both countries. The poverty levels in these countries have remained very high for a long time, because of colonization. The poverty levels have pushed ladies of these countries to engage in sex as a source of employment to be able to provide for themselves (Stillwaggon, 2006). Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple men puts a lot of women at risk of HIV. Polygamy and polyandry in these countries have also been on the increase and, therefore, increase the chances of one contracting the disease.
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In conclusion, the Social Origins of AIDS in South Africa and India are linked mainly to poverty and prostitution. Even though the rise in the immigration rates of foreigners has a role to play in the spread of AIDS, the two factors mentioned above remain dominant. In South Africa, apartheid is to blame for the rise in prostitution rates amongst Black Africans, leading to a high prevalence of HIV. Engaging in sex with concurrent sexual partners in both India and China is also to blame for the spread of HIV. Despite these factors, however, poverty remains the main cause of HIV in these two countries.