Burma and Cambodia: Human Rights, Social Disruption, and the Spread of HIV/AIDS


Beyrer, Chris. 1998. “Burma and Cambodia: Human Rights, Social Disruption, and the Spread of HIV/AIDS.” Health and Human Rights 2 (4): 84–97.

Author: Chris Beyrer


The debate around the issues raised by HIV/AIDS and human rights has largely focused on the protection from rights violations of individuals or groups affected by the disease. The relationship between political and social conditions where human rights abuses are frequent and the spread of HIV infection has been less studied. Two countries in Southeast Asia, Burma and Cambodia, are currently undergoing serious and uncontrolled epidemics of HIV; both are marked by political cultures of state violence and corruption, chronic civil war and insurgency, and widespread human rights violations. This article attempts to investigate associations between rapid HIV spread and political and social crises, using Burma and Cambodia as case studies. The climate and context of rights abuses are seen as significant factors of national vulnerability to the epidemic spread of HIV/AIDS.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Health, HIV/AIDS, Rights, Human Rights, Violence Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, Myanmar

Year: 1998

Women in South Africa Intentional Violence and HIV/AIDS: Intersections and Prevention


Outwater, Anne, Naeema Abrahams, and Jacquelyn C. Campbell. 2005. “Women in South Africa Intentional Violence and HIV/AIDS: Intersections and Prevention.” Journal of Black Studies 35 (4): 135-54.

Authors: Naeema Abrahams, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Anne Outwater


South Africa is experiencing the turbulent aftermath of apartheid and the ravages of HIV/ AIDS. Levels of violence are extremely high. In South Africa, violence has become normative and, to a large extent, accepted rather than challenged. Unusual for sub-Saharan Africa, there is a strong national research institute and rigorous data-based scientific literature describing the situation. Much of the research has focused on violence against women. This article reviews the intersection of HIV/AIDS and violence in the lives of women in South Africa. The evidence for the need for positive change is solid. The potential for positive change in South Africa is also very strong. There are suggestions that an African renaissance based on the principle of ubuntu has already begun on national, community, family, and individual levels. If so, it can lead the way to a society with decreased levels of violence and decreased levels of HIV transmission.

Keywords: South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS, violence, women, ubuntu

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2005

Unexpected Low Prevalence of HIV Among Fertile Women in Luanda, Angola. Does War Prevent the Spread of HIV?


Strand, R. T., L. Fernandes Dias, S. Bergström, and S. Andersson. 2007. “Unexpected Low Prevalence of HIV Among Fertile Women in Luanda, Angola. Does War Prevent the Spread of HIV?” International Journal of STD & AIDS 18 (7): 467–71. doi:10.1258/095646207781147300.

Authors: R. T. Strand, L. Fernandes Dias, S. Bergström, S. Andersson


We studied HIV prevalence and risk factors for HIV infection among fertile women in Luanda for the purposes of obtaining background data for planning of interventions as well as to look into the association of armed conflicts and HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV-1 prevalence was 1.7% in an antenatal care group (n = 517) and 1.9% in a family planning group (n = 518). Socioeconomic and sexual background factors did not significantly differ HIV-positive from HIV-negative women. Data on armed conflict factors were matched with HIV prevalence figures among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. The level of armed conflicts was found to be inversely related to HIV prevalence. The low HIV seroprevalence in Luanda is in sharp contrast to the capitals of neighbouring countries. While the spread of HIV may have been hampered by the long armed conflict in the country, it is feared to increase rapidly with the return of soldiers and refugees in a post-war situation. The challenge for preventive actions is urgent. This example may be relevant to other areas with a recent end-of-war situation.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Reproductive Health Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Angola

Year: 2007

Truck Drivers, Middlemen and Commercial Sex Workers: AIDS and the Mediation of Sex in South West Uganda


Gysels, M., R. Pool, and K. Bwanika. 2001. “Truck Drivers, Middlemen and Commercial Sex Workers: AIDS and the Mediation of Sex in South West Uganda.” AIDS Care 13 (3): 373–85.

Authors: M. Gysels, R. Pool, K. Bwanika


Although long distance truck drivers have been implicated in the spread of HIV in Africa, there is a paucity of studies of their sexual cultures. This paper reports on a study of the sexual culture of drivers, mediators and commercial sex workers (CSWs) in a roadside truck stop on the Trans-Africa highway in south west Uganda. Sixty-nine truck drivers, six middlemen and 12 CSWs were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaires. Interviewing truck drivers also entailed participating in the town’s nightlife and spending much time in the bars. Truck drivers stop briefly at the truck stop for various reasons: to eat, sleep, have sex and sell goods they are carrying. Middlemen mediate the latter two activities. Middlemen buy goods from the drivers and introduce them to ‘suitable’ women with whom they can have casual sex. Most drivers have sex when they spend the night at the truck stop, and most make use of the services of the middlemen. The most important reasons why drivers use middlemen are that the latter speak the local languages and, in particular, know the trustworthy and ‘safe’ (HIV-negative) women. The CSWs use middlemen mainly because they are a guarantee that the driver will pay and they usually ensure that drivers pay well. The mediation system is becoming increasingly professionalized. Most drivers claimed to use condoms during casual sex, and this was conŽfrmed by the CSWs. General use of condoms is encouraging, particularly given the context of a culture generally opposed to condoms. The idea that middlemen can recognize ‘safe’ women is worrying. However, given their key position, middlemen could form the hub of an opinion leader type intervention focused on drivers and the professional group of sex workers described here, providing condoms, advising about the importance of condom use in all casual sexual encounters, giving information about HIV and STDs, and possibly referring drivers and women to appropriate sources of HIV counselling and testing and STD treatment.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, sex workers

Topics: Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2001

Young Men and the Construction of Masculinity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for HIV/AIDS, Conflict, and Violence


Barker, Gary, and Christine Ricardo. 2005. "Young Men and the Construction of Masculinity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for HIV/AIDS, Conflict, and Violence." Working Paper, Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction, World Bank, Washington, DC.

Authors: Gary Barker, Christine Ricardo


In the literature on conflict and HIV/AIDS, African men are often presented in simplistic and explicitly negative terms. It is generally taken for granted that those who use weapons are men whilst those who suffer the consequences of conflict are women, and that men always hold power in sexual relationships whilst women are always powerless. Certainly, African women and girls have been made vulnerable by the behaviour of men and boys in conflict settings and in sexual relationships. Yet the fact that gender hierarchies also oppress some men is seldom discussed. What of the men who are survivors and victims of violence, or who are displaced or orphaned due to conflict? What of the men who are brothers or husbands of women who have been sexually abused during conflict? This paper argues that applying a more sophisticated gender analysis as it relates to conflict and HIV/AIDS is essential in order to understand how both women and men are made vulnerable by rigid ideas of masculinity and by gender hierarchies. References are made to alternative, non-violent forms of masculinity in Africa and to elements of traditional gender socialisation (the process by which individuals learn and teach others about the roles and behaviours that are expected of a women or man in a given society) which promote more gender-equitable attitudes on the part of young men. Included are examples of young men whose stories reveal ways in which men can question and counter prevailing norms of masculinity. A summary is also provided of promising programmes for including men in the promotion of gender-equity.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equity, Health, HIV/AIDS, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Africa

Year: 2005

HIV/AIDS and the Changing Landscape of War in Africa


Elbe, Stefan. 2002. “HIV/AIDS and the Changing Landscape of War in Africa.” International Security 27 (2): 159–77.

Author: Stefan Elbe

Topics: Armed Conflict, Health, HIV/AIDS Regions: Africa

Year: 2002

Gender Equality and Civil Wars


Caprioli, Mary. 2003. “Gender Equality and Civil Wars.” CPR Working Paper No. 8, Social Development Department, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network, World Bank, Washington, DC.

Author: Mary Caprioli


The research and paper on Gender Equality and Civil Wars was commissioned by the CPR Unit. It is part of an ongoing effort by the Unit to encourage original research on issues of gender and conflict, raise awareness inside the World Bank on what up to now has been a generally neglected dimension—both the conflict dimensions of gender and development, and the gender aspects conflict and development—and gradually contribute to improve the way we think about and address gender and its complex linkages with the causes and effects of violent conflict. Other elements of this effort currently under way include a comprehensive literature review on gender and conflict, a stocktaking of how the Bank has approached gender in conflict-affected countries, and an analysis of international experiences and conceptual framework to help us think about young men at risk and their deadly interplay with violence, conflict and other risky behavior such as HIV/AIDS transmission.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, HIV/AIDS

Year: 2003

The Underground Economy of AIDS


Epstein, Helen. 2006. "The Underground Economy of AIDS." Virginia Quarterly Review 82 (1): 53-63. 

Author: Helena Epstein


This article recounts the author's experience in Harare, Zimbabwe to observe the social and economic conditions of the women there and its relation to the spread of AIDS. It presents information on Shaping the Health of Adolescents in Zimbabwe program designed by University of California student Megan Dunbar. It describes the financial and social conditions of the women in the area. It emphasizes the significance of sex to a poor country.

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2006

Widespread Rape Does Not Directly Appear to Increase the Overall HIV Prevalence in Conflict-affected Countries: So Now What?


Anema, Aranka, Michel R Joffres, Edward Mills, and Paul B. Spiegel. 2008. “Widespread Rape Does Not Directly Appear to Increase the Overall HIV Prevalence in Conflict-Affected Countries: So Now What?” Emerging Themes in Epidemiology 5 (1): 1–7. doi:10.1186/1742-7622-5-11.

Authors: Aranka Anema, Michel R Joffres, Edward Mills, Paul B. Spiegel


Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is severely affected by HIV/AIDS and conflict. Sexual violence as a weapon of war has been associated with concerns about heightened HIV incidence among women. Widespread rape by combatants has been documented in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sudan and Uganda. To examine the assertion that widespread rape may not directly increase HIV prevalence at the population level, we built a model to determine the potential impact of varying scenarios of widespread rape on HIV prevalence in the above seven African countries.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda

Year: 2008

"She Drank His Money": Survival Sex and the Problem of Violence in Taverns in Gauteng Province, South Africa


Wojcicki, Janet Maia. 2002. “‘She Drank His Money’: Survival Sex and the Problem of Violence in Taverns in Gauteng Province, South Africa.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 16 (3): 267–93. doi:10.1525/maq.2002.16.3.267.

Author: Janet Maia Wojcicki


This article examines the practice of "survival sex" in the taverns of Soweto and Hammanskraal area, South Africa. Women who engage in survival sex do not self-identify as commercial sex workers, and the community does not identify them as such. Those who structure HIV prevention programs should not confound such women with commercial sex workers, because effective intervention may vary between the two groups. Violence against women who engage in survival sex in taverns is common, as it is argued that, when a woman accepts beer from a man, she is obliged to exchange sex (because she has "drunk his money"). The South African government should prioritize the reduction of violence as a way to reduce HIV transmission, as, in the context of violence, women do not have the option of negotiating safer sex.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2002


© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at

Subscribe to RSS - HIV/AIDS