Income Status and Education as Predictors of HIV Transmission in South Africa
The global Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic targets various populations around the world, and South Africa is one of a number of countries where prevalence rates of the virus continue to increase despite the introduction of a viable treatment option. Previously investigated implications of HIV in South Africa are primarily related to its effects on the health-care sector of the country. However, complex socioeconomic processes are relevant to the discussion of HIV-related risk factors and consequences affecting individuals and households within South Africa. A large body of literature covers many socioeconomic perspectives on HIV, including the effect of socioeconomic status on HIV infection. While the roles of income status and education as risk factors for HIV infection have been explored extensively in a South African context, the connection between this and consequent adverse impacts on these factors as a result of HIV infection has not been clearly identified. This paper aims to address the gap in the literature regarding how specific socioeconomic factors act as risk factors for HIV contraction, but also how the same factors are affected as an associated outcome in those infected with HIV. Specifically, this paper argues that income status and education act as risk factors for HIV through their effects on individual behaviour, while also being adversely impacted due to the occurrence of infection. These impacts on income status and education contribute to South Africa’s inability to stop perpetuating the cycle of HIV prevalence.