HIV/AIDS and Young Age Widowhood in Sub-Saharan Africa
Jacob Adetunji, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
This paper investigates one of the hidden consequences of high HIV infection and AIDS deaths -- rising levels of the proportion widowed among women aged <50 years. It is assumed that young widows, if HIV-positive and sexually active, may widely disseminate HIV infection. DHS data from eight sub-Saharan African countries are analyzed: four countries with high HIV prevalence rates (10% of adults are HIV positive) and four countries with relatively low prevalence rates (2% of adults are HIV positive). The proportion of young widows in these countries are calculated and compared over time. The results show that the proportion of young widows is higher in countries with high HIV prevalence rates than in low prevalence countries. Moreover, while the proportion of young widows decreased in low-prevalence countries, it increased in high-prevalence countries. The implications of these results for research and policy in sub-Saharan Africa are discussed.
Presented in Poster Session 5: Health and Mortality