Frank Huang 250684183 Barbra Watson
The effect of social forces on personal experiences
Harsh experience and death from HIV is the result of poor social and economic conditions
that constrains one’s health agency. Gender inequality, poverty and political forces examples of
conditions that prevent citizens of Swaziland from protecting themselves from HIV exposure or
managing the disease once infected. Such conditions are structured by higher human authority
and cause a lack individual choice for citizens in making decisions to maintain personal health.
Gender inequality reduces women’s ability to take control over their own health. In
Swaziland, men have dominance over women’s health agency. Nolen (2008) mentions that “men
are in control of women’s sexuality” (p. 28); a decision which influences women’s risk for HIV
exposure. Tubal ligations and number of offspring are also examples of decisions predetermined
by husbands or fathers (Nolen, 2008). Unfortunately for Siphiwe, her father was a man who
believed in having numerous offspring and rejected the consent for birth control procedures
(Nolen, 2008). As a result, Siphiwe suffered from additional stress from taking care of her large
abundance of children. In Swaziland, women’s role in the household is to take part in domestic
labour causing a shift in their attention away from wage labour (Luxton, 2009). Thus older
women are more vulnerable to live in poverty and further constrain health agency due to weak
attachments to the labour market and low pension contributions (Luxton, 2009).
Siphiwe and citizens of Swaziland are deprived of basic human needs essential to
managing and preventing HIV infection. Poor economic conditions and lack of social welfare
systems cause citizens to live in poverty. Many villagers are unable to afford healthy food and
proper clothing. In response, these citizens make rash decisions in order to satisfy these basic
human needs. For example, the orphans of Swaziland offer to have sex in exchange for food; an
effort to maintain survival at the cost of spreading the HIV virus (Nolen, 2008). Once
individuals are affected by the HIV virus, they can do little to prevent it from worsening.
HS 1002: Assignment 2 Page: 1 Frank Huang 250684183 Barbra Watson
Lindiwe Shabangu was one among many victims who waits to die because of her inability to
manage 8 dollars once a month for a shared taxi fare to the hospital (Nolen, 2008).