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Wants Vs Needs: The Conceptualization of Poverty as a Driver for High HIV Infections among Young Women in Rural Uganda

Authors: Judith Namanya*, Michigan State University, Leo Zulu, Department of Geography, Environmentat and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University
Topics: Africa, Women, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS, Poverty, Young Women
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have made remarkable progress in reducing AIDS-related deaths and morbidity. Despite this progress, the HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a major contributor to SSA’s infectious disease and mortality burden. That poverty is one of the major underlying drivers of HIV/AIDs in SSA is indisputable. In 2015, the poverty rate in this region was 41.1%, with 389 million people living on less than $1.90 a day. However, it is important to note that the definition of poverty in relation to HIV/AIDS is not clear. As efforts to address poverty, fight HIV/AIDS and seek to attain the related Sustainable Development Goals in Sub-Saharan Africa intensify, it is crucial to gain a better understanding of the contextual meaning of poverty in populations that are at a high risk to HIV infections. We use narratives from focus group discussions with young women from rural southwestern Uganda to unpack the concept of poverty and context-specific materialization as it relates to HIV risk among young women. Findings reveal nuanced diversity in the local manifestations of poverty that go beyond orthodox notions of a desperate need to meet the most basic physiological needs, and might have implications on targeting HIV interventions.

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