Gender Inequality and HIV Risk in South Africa: Education and Socio-economic Empowerment of Women as Protective Factors Against HIV Infection

By Ngqabutho M. Ncube.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

South Africa is home to the largest number of people infected with HIV in the world. More than 5 million South Africans are HIV positive. In South Africa, female HIV infections are increasing at an alarming rate; almost one out of three pregnant women attending antenatal clinics is HIV-positive. Gender inequality, women’s biological susceptibility to HIV infection, social, cultural and economic factors increase a women’s risk of HIV infection. Limited sexual power is associated with inconsistent condom use, and makes it difficult for women to negotiate safe sex practice or refuse sexual advances. Yet, few studies have been conducted with respect to gender inequalities and its effects on HIV preventive behaviors.
The aim of this review is to investigate gender imbalances that exacerbate women’s vulnerability to HIV infection and make recommendations to reduce and prevent HIV transmission. Reviewed literature shows that social, cultural and economic factors makes it difficult for South African women to negotiate safe sex practices, and that refusing sexual advances often result in sexual abuse or violent confrontations. Education and economic empowerment of women has been shown to improve women’s sexual power. The most effective approach to HIV/AIDS prevention is implementing gender sensitive programs that focus on sociocultural and economic factors related to gender inequality.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Gender Inequalities, Violence, Socioeconomic, Education, South Africa

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.489-496. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.247MB).

Ngqabutho M. Ncube

Department of Psychology, Walden University, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

I grew up in South Africa, where I was an HIV educator. South Africa is home to the largest number of people infected with HIV in the world. I have dedicated my life to HIV education, treatment and prevention. I have conducted numerous studies ranging from HIV to pesticides. My career objectives are to increase awareness about international health problems, promote diseases prevention practices and to conduct research to enhance prevention of preventable diseases that kill millions of people every year and have a devastating impact on the global economy and security. My research interests are infectious diseases, child and adolescent psychopathology.


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