HIV/AIDS - the slow onset disaster : disaster management perspectives and challenges in the new millennium

23 May 2008

One of the most extensive challenges that ordinary South Africans, and more specifically, the South African government is faced with, is to find a way to manage the looming HIV/AIDS disaster that is unfolding in our midst. The successful management of HIV/AIDS requires a holistic and integrated multisectoral approach that in essence is underpinned by disaster management principles. Notwithstanding the multiple and costly efforts from government, the evident rise in the statistics in HIV/AIDS seem to challenge those advocates that want South Africans and the world to believe that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is well under control. However, it deserves to be mentioned that government is indeed involved in various initiatives in an attempt to manage the HIV/AIDS epidemic successfully. In this article it would be argued that the management of HIV/AIDS according to disaster management principles is a possible solution to successfully manage the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The management of HIV/AIDS according to disaster management principles would lead to the suggestion that AIDS is a typical slow-onset disaster. In order for government to effectively manage HIV/AIDS,, it would be necessary to adopt an integrated, and multisectoral disaster management approach. In the absence of a medical cure, the management of the HIV/AIDS epidemic according to disaster management principles, is possibly an alternative way to understand and manage the HIV/AIDS epidemic successfully in South Africa.