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HIV/AIDS and the Security Sector in Africa

image of HIV/AIDS and the Security Sector in Africa
Throughout history, communicable diseases have weakened the capacity of state institutions to perform core security functions, which compelled many African countries to initiate policies aimed at addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on the armed forces, police and prisons. These policies address: 1) the role of peacekeepers in the spread or control of HIV, 2) public health versus human rights dilemma, 3) the gender dimensions of HIV in the armed forces, and 4) the impact of HIV on the police and prisons. While this volume does not address all aspects of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the security sector, the contributors nonetheless highlight the potentials and limits of existing policies in Africa’s security sector.

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HIV/AIDS and women in the Zimbabwe defence forces: A gender perspective

This chapter explores the lived experiences of women in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The chapter offers a gender perspective on how HIV/AIDS programmes have responded or failed to respond to the needs of the ZDF women. Research on HIV/ AIDS and the military predominantly focuses on the serving members, the majority of whom are male. Women in the military are often overlooked as a subject of analysis in academic and policy literature. In addition, they are scarcely represented in the policy-making and resource- allocation echelons of military institutions. Consequently, male counterparts tend to overlook the important needs of women. Experience has shown that responses to women’s needs are typically planned and managed reactively rather than proactively. Based on this observable phenomenon, this chapter explores the perceptions of how the needs of women have been met in the ZDF’s fight against HIV/AIDS. It is hoped that the experiences of the ZDF women may be useful to other militaries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

English

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