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PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

On-line version ISSN 1727-3781


MSWELA, M. Cultural practices and HIV in South Africa: a legal perspective. PER [online]. 2009, vol.12, n.4, pp.172-213. ISSN 1727-3781.

South Africa has not escaped the rising prevalence and severe impact of HIV/AIDS in relation to women. From an economic and social vantage point, the HIV/AIDS epidemic effects women the hardest, with underprivileged black women the most susceptible to the virus. The theoretical framework of this paper focuses on the intersection between HIV/AIDS, gender inequality and gender violence, and more specifically on certain cultural practices and customs that contribute towards and exacerbate women's subordination and inequality, which in turn increase women's exposure to HIV infection. Relevant to this focus is inevitably an analysis of the perceived threats to specific fundamental human rights as a result of some of the entrenched practices that continue to reinforce women's subordinate position in society, aggravated by the high incidence of gender violence.

Keywords : HIV/AIDS; gender violence; culture, equality; dignity; female genital mutilation; polygamy; early marriage; virginity testing; dry sex.

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