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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

versão On-line ISSN 2071-9736
versão impressa ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.16 no.1 Cape Town  2011




A literature review of the impact of HIV and AIDS on the role of the elderly in the sub-Saharan African community



Eucebious Lekalakala-Mokgele

School of Health Care Sciences, University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus), South Africa





The status of older adults in Africa occupies a small but rapidly expanding share of the global literature on ageing. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic has generated a new focus on the changing role of the elderly in communities that have been affected. In sub-Saharan Africa, where millions are projected to be infected with HIV and about two million deaths are recorded annually amongst the traditionally productive adults, such loss of parents and breadwinners means children and the elderly have had to take up unusual responsibilities. A literature review on the elderly and HIV and AIDS provided the data analysed for this article. Access to databases was mainly via EBSCO (, which allowed searches in major databases and search engines useful in an academic setting for finding and accessing articles in health and health-related academic journals, repositories and archived reports. Results showed that the AIDS pandemic has direct and indirect effects which have manifested in a set of interrelated social, economic and psychological dimensions that could ultimately impact on the health and well-being of the elderly. It is concluded that more needs to be done to articulate the knowledge base of the impact of HIV and AIDS in order to inform social, economic and political policies for the purpose of alleviating the problems that the pandemic is wreaking on the elderly African population.


Die status van ouer volwassenes in Afrika beklee'n klein, maar vinnig groeiende deel van die globale verouderings literatuur. Die menslike immuniteitsgebreksvirus (MTV) en verworwe immuniteitsgebreksindroom (VIGS) pandemie het 'n nuwe fokus op die veranderende rol van bejaardes in die gemeenskap wat deur VIGS beïnvloed word, gegenereer. In sub-Sahara Afrika waar na beraming miljoene geïnfekteer word met MIV, met sowat twee miljoen sterftes jaarliks gerekordeer onder die tradisoneel produktiewe volwassenes, word daar van die kinders en bejaardes verwag om ongewone verantwoordelikhede op hulle te neem as gevolg van die verlies aan ouers of broodwinners. 'n Literatuuroorsig wat handel oor bejaardes en MIV en VIGS het die geanaliseerde data voorsien vir hierdie artikel. Toegang tot die databasis was meestal deur EBSCO ( wat soektog toegelaat het tot groot databasisse en soekenjins wat bruikbaar in die akademiese opset is en die vind van artikels aangaande gesondheid, gesondheidverwante akademiese joernale en argief verslae. Bevindings toon dat die VIGS pandemie direkte en indirekte effekte het. Hierdie effekte manifisteer in 'n stel sosiaal verwante, ekonomiese en psigologiese dimensies wat ten einde 'n impak op die gesondheid en welstand van bejaardes het. Daar is tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat meer gedoen moet word om die kennis basis van MIV en VIGS te artikuleer om die sosiale, ekonomiese en politiese beleid in kennis te stel, om sodoende die resulterende probleme van MIV en VIGS op die bejaarde Afrika populasie te verlig.



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Eucebious Lekalakala-Mokgele
PO Box 72
Medunsa 0204
South Africa

Received: 04 June 2010
Accepted: 29 Aug. 2011
Published: 10 Nov. 2011

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