The background to this paper is the increasing interest in the relationship between housing and municipal services
and HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this paper is to clarify what, precisely, one has in mind when thinking that housing and
municipal services might prevent HIV infection and associated opportunistic infections. The focus is not on the socioeconomic
dimensions but on the modes of transmission associated with specific opportunistic infections. That is, the
paper first disputes the relevance of housing and services to HIV prevention, but then demonstrates that housing and
municipal services are important for
(a) the prevention of certain opportunistic infections to which people affected by
HIV/AIDS are particularly vulnerable, and
(b) for the provision of home-based care.
In addition to the medical focus of the paper, there is attention to the empirical backdrop on the relation between
housing, municipal services and HIV/AIDS, analysing survey findings regarding among whom and where HIV prevalence
is highest, and projections regarding the extent of HIV infections and AIDS based on the World Health
Organization clinical staging system. Using Johannesburg as a case study, it is demonstrated that the number of persons
having AIDS is smaller than one might expect and also that the number is already declining, which has implications
for the provision of home-based care. However, it is also shown that the number of households that lost one or
several members is increasing rapidly. In this context, labour force surveys are employed to identify the impacts on specific
categories of households. At this stage, a defining unknown is the scale, nature and location of these reconstituted
households and what this means for housing policy.
Finally, a feature of the research was the extent to which medical practitioners viewed housing as a quixotic sideline
within the broader struggle for HIV prevention and the provision of treatment. In sum, the paper provides an argument
for incorporating housing and municipal services into both HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment programmes.
Keywords : HIV/AIDS, Opportunistic Infections, Housing, Municipal Services.
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