The possible expansion of the HIV epidemic and its cultural impact on Sub-Saharan Africa are quite devastating. Different projections under conservative assumptions state that many people will be infected in this region, but the African population will still keep growing in the near future. Many cultural practices, including huge age differences between women and men in marriages and a long time of postpartum abstinence, have considerably contributed to the frequency of extramarital relations and the easy spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.
In response to its fast spreading, many social adaptations are required, including significant changes in sexual behaviors, childbearing, and marriage customs. The AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely shaped by traditions, social values, norms related to sex distribution and age, mortality and morbidity patterns, childbearing, and many others. Some people may speculate on the extent of this virus and its long-term effects on this society, others expect certain changes to happen in this cultural and demographic pattern.
There are strongly interconnected factors that exist in this region and they affect the observe pattern of this infection, including the acceptability and length of postpartum female sexual abstinence, age differences between women and men, the acceptance of premarital sexual relationships, prostitution, urbanization degrees, and much more. For instance, some countries in this region traditionally have quite long periods of postpartum women’s sexual abstinence, big age differences between spouses, and accepted male extramarital relations.
The risk of HIV transmissions is quite high, especially in cities. There is a high probability of transmitting and contracting this dangerous virus, which is exacerbated in those societies that expect female virginity before marriage, while still tolerating prostitution. The strong evidence of this effect is observed in different infection rates and social conventions in Kinshasa and Kigali. The expected spread of this infection in the future will only heighten cultural discrepancies between the behavior of people living in urban and rural areas, and upset the growing economic and social advantages of cities over rural regions.
The possible expansion of the HIV epidemic and its cultural impact on Sub-Saharan Africa are quite devastating. Different projections under conservative assumptions state that many people will be infected in this region, but the African population will still keep growing in the near future.