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Health and Disease in South Africa

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The developing country South Africa is located in the eastern hemisphere on the southern tip of the African continent. This country was colonized by Britain and gained its independence after a whites-only referendum in 1961 (“The World Factbook: South Africa”). The free enterprise country has a hyperglobalist perspective on globalization and is shown by believing private enterprise are virtues and that today’s trade is within transnational corporations and their subsidiaries. Their large supply of natural resources such as gold, diamonds, and iron dominate their economy. South Africa’s GDP real growth rate decreased 0.6% from 1.3% in 2015 to 0.7% in 2017. That is the same decrease as the country Kenya located in East Africa with a GDP rate at 5.7% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2017 (“The World Factbook: South Africa”). Health and disease in South Africa, specifically the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS has severely affected the population. “Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate with over 22 million infected, or almost 5 percent of the population” (Robbins, Richard, and Rachel Dowty 2019: 241). The origins of AIDS affected only a few people after World War II until it made its breakthrough worldwide in the late 70s, causing thousands all over the world to be infected. The transmission of AIDS in South Africa relates to capitalism in ways such as poverty, human, and business travel, as well as war. Tourism is one of the largest industries, the migration of people increases the chance of being susceptible to AIDS and other diseases. This puts not only travelers at risk, but also the hosts of that country as well (Robbins, Richard, and Rachel Dowty 2019: 242). Male workers in the search for business are more likely to spread the disease when traveling from rural to urban areas. “South Africa is known as “The Highway of Death,” truckers having an infection rate of 90 percent.” (Gould 1993:75). An example of this is the fact that, when men visit prostitutes who have already been infected with AIDS. They contaminate themselves, bringing this disease back with them to their home villages, furthering the spread of AIDS.

War also contributes to the transmission of AIDS by the movement of soldiers and refugees caused by conflict (Robbins, Richard, and Rachel Dowty 2019: 244). The South African military campaigns use rape as a popular way to control and victimize an enemy. With the majority of soldiers being infected, and an increase of multiple-partner sexual activity, along with malnutrition and a stressed immune system. Increasingly further the spread of this disease (Garrett 1994:367-368).

In the beginning of the twenty-first century AIDS struck hard in the periphery countries and poverty played a major role. When programs in poor and wealthy countries cut the health, sanitation and education programs in order to pay for sovereign debt (Robbins, Richard, and Rachel Dowty 2019: 225). The destruction of health care services leads to the emergence and rapid spreading of diseases. The people of these disadvantaged countries lacked the resources needed to understand the importance of healthy sexual choices and as a result were getting infected with all sorts of sexual transmitted disease, such as AIDS.

Today, South African government has made great efforts to stop AIDS-related deaths by launching its third five-year South African National Strategic Plan on sexually transmitted infections lowering the AIDS- related deaths more than 55% since 2005. The government is also launching programs in locations where the most populated are infected. (UNAIDS: 2017).

AIDS is known as the signature disease of the culture of capitalism. The efforts made by the South African government to reduce the spreading of this disease caused by poverty, human and business travel, as well as war is ongoing and will not cease AIDS completely. But is crucial for the health of not only their country, but to others around the world as well.

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