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Gender and Generational Effects of HIV/AIDS in Rural South Africa

Sangeetha Madhavan, African-American Studies

Contributing to this growing body of research on the social and structural impacts of HIV/AIDS,  the MPRC seed grant will be used  to 1) analyze data collected from a pilot study on the gender and generational effects of HIV/AIDS mortality and morbidity in rural South Africa; 2) write articles for publication in leading demography and sociology journals; and 3) prepare an R01 National Institutes of Health grant proposal for submission in the spring of 2008. The main hypothesis driving this research is that the distinctive age and gender pattern of HIV/AIDS mortality and morbidity affects household structure and composition in ways not seen with other causes of death. The limited literature on gender, generation and HIV/AIDS suggests that tensions between men and women, between the old and young, between rich and poor, and between the married and unmarried are often exposed and widened by the shock of HIV/AIDS (Baylies & Bujra 2000). Issues related to vulnerability, risk, blame and responsibility often divide families and households along gender and generational lines. Given that women of reproductive age are at substantial risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and because HIV/AIDS is likely to cluster in households, it is crucial to understand the ways in which age and gender condition the impact of HIV/AIDS on the household and family. The proposed analysis will provide insights into gender dynamics, power distribution and generational cooperation and tensions.

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