The Globalization-AIDS-Poverty Syndrome in Africa pp. 235-256
Authors: (Padraig Carmody, University of Dublin, Ireland, Glen Elder, The University Of Vermont)
Abstract: Geographically speaking, AIDS the usually fatal result of an HIV infection, is primarily instantiated in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, which also contains two-thirds of the world’s cases of HIV infection (See Figure 1). There were more than 2.1 million AIDS deaths there in 2006, more than 70% of the world’s total from complications related to HIV. Put simply, people live with HIV in most parts of the world but tend to get infected by HIV more often and die more quickly of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. A fifteen year old boy in Botswana has over a 90% chance of dying of AIDS (UNAIDS, 2000 cited in Barnett and Whiteside, 2006).‡ While statistics such as these are well known, what is surprising is that suffering and death on this scale was foreseen and allowed to develop (for examples of early warnings pertaining to HIV in sub-Saharan Africa see Seale 1986; Caldwell, Caldwell and Quiggin 1989; Barnett and Blaikie 1992; the links between migrant labor in sub-Saharan Africa and HIV see Jochelson et al., 1991; HIV and gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa see McFadden 1992). More recent responses from international organizations like the World Health Organization, private foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and state actors like the European Union and the United States are largely responses to the work of highly organized coalitions of the sick and dying who focussed global attention on the pandemic. The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and the Treatment Action Campaign are two well-known examples. These successes notwithstanding, the depth of the current crisis remains a stark testament to the failure of institutions across multiple scales to respond adequately to treat and halt the virus.