Original Research

The role of gender in the spread of HIV and AIDS among farmworkers in South Africa

Ntombifikile E. Klaas, Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae, Thuledi P. Makua
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 10, No 1 | a1668 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1668 | © 2018 Ntombifikile E. Klaas, Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae, Thuledi P. Makua | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2017 | Published: 08 November 2018

About the author(s)

Ntombifikile E. Klaas, Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa
Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae, Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa
Thuledi P. Makua, Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Gender inequality and men’s perceived sexual and economic superiority over women are central to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The farming community in which the participants in the study live operates along such patriarchal lines, with the men making the important decisions for their families.

Aim: To explore and describe the role of gender in the spread of HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among farmworkers in South Africa.

Setting: The study was conducted in the Levubu farms, Vhembe district, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Methods: The researchers adopted a qualitative, explorative and descriptive research design with in-depth semi-structured interviews. Purposive and convenience sampling methods were used to select participants who met the inclusion criteria. Data collected were thematically analysed using Creswell’s data analysis method. Lincoln and Guba’s model to ensure trustworthiness and ethical standards were applied.

Results: The findings of the study clearly indicated that powerlessness and lack of decision-making by female farmworkers was common as female farmworkers were dependent on their male partners to make decisions in the workplace as well as decisions regarding sexual matters in a relationship.

Conclusion: The main conclusion drawn from the findings were that farmworkers are continuously exposed to exploitation and disempowerment in a variety of ways with very little support from their supervisors, which makes them vulnerable to contracting HIV.


Keywords

AIDS; feminism; farm workers; gender; HIV

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