Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Richard Weisskoff

Second Committee Member

Edmund Abaka

Third Committee Member

Clair Apodaca

Fourth Committee Member

Kenneth Goodman

Fifth Committee Member

Ambler Moss


Worldwide few communities have escaped AIDS’ reach. However, epidemiological surveys reveal a significant regional variation in HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence rates (UNAIDS, 2004). South Africa, which possesses one of the highest prevalence rates in the world, is located at the apex of the AIDS pandemic (UNAIDS, 2004). Furthermore, although both men and women are vulnerable in contracting HIV, women are disproportionately infected with the virus. While the lives lost to HIV/AIDS are lamentable for both sexes, this author maintains that the feminization of HIV/AIDS in South Africa presents deleterious consequences for the fiduciary and physical and mental health of the family and ultimately for the process of economic development and human security in South Africa. Increasingly researchers examine HIV/AIDS in the milieu of gender and social inequities. However, a more rigorous examination of the epidemic in its economic, political, ethical and cultural contexts is wanting. The objective of this dissertation is to advance a discussion which shows how the interactions between historical, socio-economic, political, and cultural factors have molded the disproportionate proliferation of the epidemic among women.


HIV/AIDS; South Africa; Feminization; Socio-Economic; Political; Cultural