Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Aside from all of the assault- and murder-related danger, there's also AIDS. The overall prevalence here is a little over 30%, which is staggering. 31% for Gauteng, which is the province I'm in. 39% for ages 25-29, which is the age bracket I'm in. Over 600,000 people died from AIDS in 2006, which is A LOT for a country with a total population of only 45 million. Average life expectancy in the country is falling because of AIDS.

There are references to AIDS in a lot of places, like on this mural in Soweto. However, it hasn't been as omnipresent as an epidemic could be. Due to herculean efforts, some of the stigma has been worn away over the past few years, but sadly a lot of it still remains. And in reality, there is still even a lot of work to be done in the US. But here they don't have the infrastructure, the funding, or the skills to implement the things we have in the US. Prevalence is somewhat stabilizing here, and they'll have access to medical breakthroughs some other parts of the world, but still - nearly 1 in 3 people here has HIV/AIDS and the near future prospects aren't great. That all to me is a little scarier than the murder rate.

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