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Football and netball in women’s struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa

In: Africa Review
Author:
Mark W. DeLancey Department of Political Science, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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The HIV/AIDS problem has improved in recent years. The number of newly infected persons is declining year after year (2.1 million new cases in 2013). However, the news is still grim and especially so for young women. Why does HIV seem to discriminate against women, especially younger women? Women are physiologically more susceptible than men, but among the most significant causes are gender inequity and related poverty and human rights issues.

A number of strategies and tactics are used in the struggle with HIV/AIDS. Some are old ideas, found successful in campaigns against other diseases. Others are of more recent origin. Among the latter has been the use of sport. In this essay, we discuss some of the ways in which sport is used to assist women in the struggle against HIV/AIDS.

A survey of problems associated with the spread and the prevention of HIV/AIDS is indicative of the difficulties faced. Of the many strategies and tactics, is there a role for sport? Sport has been able to assist with some of the associated problems. Although in some instances a sport activity is aimed at a single issue, more often the purposes are multiple. Often, events and programmes are not specifically aimed at a female audience, though frequently separate activities are used for each gender.

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