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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 the South African National defence force: Anecdotal evidence from outside and within

At the 2007 International Department of Defence HIV/AIDS Conference in Pretoria, the then South African Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, expressed the concern that “HIV/AIDS in the armed forces could pose a significant security threat”. What she was implying is that every soldier infected with HIV/AIDS erodes the capacity of the military to execute their core security mandate, in much the same way as HIV incapacitates its human host. The impact of HIV/AIDS on the armed forces can be linked to the effect this virus has on the human immune system. As Eberson observed

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