Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where have all the Swazi's gone? - Recent media

"Where have all the Swazi's gone?" is the title of a recent article from Toronto's Globe and Mail, which discusses Swaziland's recent census results. According to the census, Swaziland has 300,000 fewer people than predicted by pre-HIV growth rates.

The article goes on to describe the "toxic mix" of factors that has fueled the country's HIV epidemic. Examples of such factors are:
- a culture that "condones, even encourages" promiscuity and polygamy among men
- a culture that denies women the right to negotiate condom use
- a "limited economy" that relies on sending men to work in South Africa for long periods of time
- a king with several wives who has denied the magnitude of the problem
- the country's understaffed and underfunded health system

The result: Swaziland is shrinking, and 26% of adults and 49% of young women between the ages of 25 and 29 are HIV positive.


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