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AIDS in Africa in the 20th Century - Term Paper Example

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AIDS: African Women Suffering From Stigma and Discrimination Introduction One of the most significant issues in the modern society and anthropology is the continuous widespread of AIDS in Africa. Some say that the true face of this sexually contagious disease is that of African women-about three-quarters of all HIV positive Africans with the age range 15 to 24 are women (Annan 2002)…
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AIDS in Africa in the 20th Century
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Download file to see previous pages food, clothes, etc. Soon enough, however, they are not only confronted with economic distress alone but also with an insurmountable social disaster. Apparently, two of the most prevalent social issues they are facing are stigmatization and discrimination. These issues are evident in a study about the women in Nigeria. This paper argues that these two social issues--stigmatization and discrimination--are the top reasons why AIDS survives up until the 20th century and beyond. Even so, both social issues worsen the problem of AIDS in Africa. Lastly, this paper suggests that if the government and other interventionists alike are really serious with their aim of eliminating AIDS in Africa, they should first gear their efforts on eliminating these two social issues. AIDS as a Social Construct Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a condition brought about by HIV infection. As the disease’s name suggests, the HIV infection would make the body’s immune system deficient, making it more susceptible for other infections that may potentially compromise body functioning (Stolley and Glass 2009, 5). However, beyond this scientific definition, AIDS became known as a more complex problem. In a study by Keniston (1989, 2), he revealed that AIDS resonates problems in public health, politics, psychological processes, education, as well as issues regarding public attitude and morals. Moreover, Keniston (1989, 2) pointed out that AIDS is more of a social construct than a biological one. To date, it seems that the same still holds true. First and foremost, the spread of the virus is enacted within the sexual behavior of two individuals--clearly a social interaction. Second, cultural and social structures help shape and condition the behaviors and interactions that further spread AIDS (Keniston 1989, 2). For instance, the African society’s poverty prods women to engage in sexual trades, thereby, perpetrating the disease. Lastly, societal notions regarding AIDS give rise to the concepts of stigma and discrimination, which contribute to oppression towards African women as well as to the worsening of Africa’s problem on AIDS. Stigma and Discrimination Stigmatization Defined In ancient times, stigma is a Greek term used to symbolize the mark on the flesh of a scandalous character, “a traitor, criminal, or slave” (Harvey 2001, quoted in Akanbi 2010, 3209). Additionally, a famous definition states that stigma is characterized as a “discrediting within a particular social interaction, as a spoiled social identity and a deviation from the attributes considered normal and acceptable by society” (Harvey et al. 2001, quoted in Akanbi 2010, 3209). Interestingly, a study made by Inside-Out Research (2003, quoted in Akanbi 2010, 3209) regarding South Africa, provides a two-fold definition of stigma: (1) internal stigma, an internal remorse that further makes the victim hide her condition, thereby, declining assistance and access to resources, and (2) enacted or external stigma, which implies discrimination and society’s fear of association with a person who has HIV or AIDS. Factors That Brought Stigmatization A study asserts that certain natural and socio-demographic factors influence HIV/AIDS stigmatization and discrimination among women in Lagos State, Nigeria. Among these factors are related to what Liz ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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