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The Social Impact of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

Etienne van de Walle
The Milbank Quarterly
Vol. 68, Supplement 1 (Part 1). A Disease of Society: Cultural Responses to AIDS (1990), pp. 10-32
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Milbank Memorial Fund
DOI: 10.2307/3350174
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350174
Page Count: 23
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The Social Impact of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
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Abstract

The potential expansion of the HIV epidemic and its cultural impact in sub-Saharan Africa are vast. Projections under conservative assumptions suggest that the toll of AIDS will reach five million annual deaths by 2010, although the net African population will continue to increase significantly. Cultural practices, including large differences in age between men and women at marriage and a long period of postpartum abstinence, have contributed to the frequency of extramarital relations and eased the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. In response to the spread of AIDS, social adaptations will include profound changes in sexual behavior, marriage customs, and childbearing.

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