Growing Old in the Era of AIDS: Perspectives and Experiences of Older Men and Women in South Africa

  • Chantal Munthree
  • Pranitha Maharaj
Part of the International Perspectives on Aging book series (Int. Perspect. Aging, volume 4)


Despite the serious implications that HIV/AIDS is likely to have for older people in South Africa, little empirical work has focused directly on them. However, growing evidence suggests that older people are increasingly impacted by the AIDS pandemic. This study uses qualitative and quantitative methods to provide insights into the perspectives and behaviour of older people in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It looks more specifically at the multiple impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the lives of older men and women. The results show that few older men and women feel at medium or high risk of HIV infection. Older men and women perceive themselves at risk of HIV infection because of their caregiving activities. Almost 17 % of respondents report that they have ever cared for someone with HIV/AIDS with the percentage somewhat higher in rural areas than urban areas. The consequences on the health of older people are substantial with many reporting experiencing physical exhaustion and emotional stress as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.


Focus Group Discussion Informal Caregiver Main Caregiver Rural Respondent African Township 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Built Environment and Development StudiesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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