A lethal cocktail: Exploring the impact of corruption on HIV/Aids prevention and treatment efforts in South Africa

2007-12-01

 

In comparison with other countries across the Southern African region, South Africa is perhaps in a unique position in its struggle to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. There has been a gradual increase in prevalence rates from the first recorded rate of 20 per cent in 1999/00 to 30 per cent in 2005/06, which is often attributed to the fragmented response to prevention and treatment efforts.

 

At the same time, there have been massive increases in funding capacity, yet, despite this, the realisation of positive results remains slow and uneven. Based on this complex interplay of variables, in mid-2006 Transparency International-Zimbabwe and the Institute for Security Studies Corruption and Governance Programme decided to embark on a groundbreaking study into corruption and accountability in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts in South Africa. The basic premise was that if the increase in funding did not translate into positive results, then we would need to consider other factors, including a lack of or inadequate accountability mechanisms and instances of corruption, that may be impinging on delivery. The findings remain the first real attempt worldwide to comprehensively map out (primarily government) structures, bodies and processes dealing with the pandemic through a corruption and accountability lens.

The report shows that corruption and poor oversight are a potentially lethal cocktail when combined with the rapacious AIDS disease. In doing so, it brings the impact of corruption on the poor and marginalised in our society into sharp focus: our ability to control corruption in the prevention of HIV/AIDS is as dramatic and clear-cut as a choice of life over death. Ultimately, it challenges state and non-state actors to improve on efforts so that those infected and affected by the scourge are assisted.

Edited by: Trusha Reddy

 

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