By Alex de Waal
Why, two decades into the problem, are democratic governments acting so poorly in tackling AIDS in Africa? De Waal argues that latest methods are pushed by way of pursuits and frameworks that fail to interact with African societies' resilience and creativity. Already, African groups have confounded the various worst predictions of catastrophe. If appropriately supported, they're going to locate methods of maintaining improvement and democracy in the middle of HIV/AIDS.
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Additional info for AIDS and Power: Why there is no Political Crisis - Yet (African Arguments)
It is their government and constitution; they are still proud of both. De Waal 03 38 23/5/06 9:31 am Page 38 AIDS and Power In its early years, the TAC fashioned itself as a single-issue campaign focusing on government provision of antiretrovirals, along with efforts to break the stigma surrounding infection with HIV. It still does these things and has brought personal salvation to many people living with HIV and AIDS who were isolated and depressed. But, especially after the government ceded the principle of universal antiretroviral treatment (ART) in 2003, it has positioned itself as part of a wider struggle for social and economic rights in South Africa.
As Desmond and his colleagues note: De Waal 02 23/5/06 9:30 am Page 25 Denial and How It Is Overcome 25 Observations relating to burial practices in Swaziland have shown very little evidence of practices adapting to a changing environment. Although undertakers have shown a response to the increasing numbers of AIDS-related deaths in keeping their prices constant despite inflation, burial practices do not reflect any change. 38 At a Swazi funeral,AIDS will almost never be mentioned. Every effort will be made to maintain a veneer of normality.
The ‘ambiguous’ constituency agrees with one or two of those propositions. The ‘positive constituency’ thinks that AIDS is a priority and the government is doing well. Where there are no strong views, there is no AIDS constituency. Botswana is a unique example of a strong ‘positive constituency’. It has the highest level of public confidence in government policy on AIDS, strongly correlated with demand for public action on AIDS. This implies that the government is successfully setting the nation’s AIDS agenda.