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Annals of Anthropological Practice

LIVELIHOOD DEMANDS AND THE SPREAD OF AIDS: THE CASE OF MALAWI

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Abstract

I argue in this article that one of the factors in the spread of HIV/AIDS in Malawi is that young adults who are sexually most active, at their peak in desiring to improve their economic status, and culturally responsible for meeting family needs, engage in migrant work that involves circular migration to and from workplaces. With spouses left behind, if married, the young adult males fulfill their sexual desires by engaging in multipartner sexual relations with whatever partners they find in their travels. HIV/AIDS, coming into such a social landscape in the 1980s, only found a social environment conducive to the spreading of the disease. To address the matter, we need to promote what I have termed community entrepreneurship in home communities of these young adults. Community entrepreneurship will, over the long run, reduce the young adults’ involvement in circular migration. Promoting community entrepreneurship demands developing human capital, social capital, and organizational capital in rural Malawi.

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