The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in partnership with its aids2031 hyper-endemic co-chairs, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Joaquim Chissano Foundation, recently published Turning off the Tap: Understanding and Overcoming the HIV Epidemic in Southern Africa.
The culmination of a process that began in early 2009, the paper, written by consultant Hein Marais, was commissioned by the hyper-endemic pillar’s working group to spell out why Southern Africa is so hyper-endemic, what has been done to address the epidemic and what options for policy and action are available to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the long-term future. The paper synthesises relevant findings of existing research and information.
Throughout its development, the paper was critically peer-reviewed by: Nelson Mandela Chief Executive Achmat Dangor; Dr Renee Loewenson; Dr Linda Richter; Dr Derek von Wissell; Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda; Professor Malegapuru Makgoba; Dr Alan Whiteside, Professor Nkanda Luo; Batho Molomo; Dr Mbulawa Mugabe; Mark Stirling; Professor Likeness Simbayi; Dr Itumeleng Kimane; Makhamokha Mohale; Head of the Foundation’s Dialogue Programme, Dr Mothomang Diaho; and Mandisa Mbali.
This paper aims to identify top-priority, evidence-based action steps that can turn the tide by examining a series of interlocking questions about the HIV epidemics that are raging in Southern Africa, namely:
- Why are the HIV epidemics in Southern Africa so severe?
- What are the epidemics doing to our societies?
- What works?
- What’s to be done?
Specifically, the paper examines whether the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region is mere coincidence, or whether the so-called hyper-endemic countries share certain features that make their populations vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.