Nelson Mandela Foundation


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:

  1. Why are the HIV epidemics in Southern Africa so severe?
  2. What are the epidemics doing to our societies?
  3. What works?
  4. 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.

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