The impact of HIV/AIDS regarding informal social security: Issues and perspectives from a South African context31 March 2011
The purpose of the article is to examine the right to social assistance for households living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. In particular, the article focuses on the impact of this pandemic on households' access to social assistance benefits in the wake of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has wrought untold sorrow and suffering to the overwhelming majority of households in South Africa. The article analyses the consequences of HIV/AIDS in relation to households' support systems, care and dependency burdens, and the extent to which the household members either acknowledge the illness (enabling them to better engage with treatment options) or alternatively, deny its existence. The article commences by reviewing the literature concerning the effects and social impact of HIV/AIDS on the livelihoods of households and their families. The social reciprocity that underpins households' livelihoods is briefly recapitulated. The article concludes that, while recent policy developments are to be welcomed, the current South African legal system of social security does not provide adequate cover for both people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. More remains to be done in order to provide a more comprehensive social security system for the excluded and marginalised people who are living with HIV/AIDS and their families.