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THE DOUBLE THREAT Of HIV/AIDS AND DROUGHT ON RURAL HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN SOUTHEASTERN ZIMBABWE

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Abstract

This chapter provides a case study of how Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS epidemic has contributed to shaping its ongoing food security crisis. It explores the combined impact of HIV/AIDS and drought on the food security of rural households. Fieldwork conducted in the semi-arid, southeastern region of Zimbabwe relied on a combination of ethnographic and survey-based methods. The analysis examines the implications of a double-threat from drought and HIV/AIDS by comparing data from a severe drought year in 2005 with a nondrought year in 2004. It explores household food insecurity as a product of a complex strategy for accessing food that depends on a household's resource base, its ability to exploit opportunities in the marketplace, and channel resources through its social network. The findings suggest that the combination of drought and HIV/AIDS intensifies immediate and long-term food security. However, the differences in food security attributed to HIV/AIDS are sometimes blurred by an ongoing economic crisis that has made survival difficult in general. This article contributes to studies about HIV/AIDS and livelihoods in rural Zimbabwe and has relevance for understanding of how other HIV/AIDS epidemics can erode household food security in drought prone areas.

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