The role of social fluidity and mobility in household responses to HIV and AIDS in rural South Africa
Lucia C Knight, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Rural Zulu households in South Africa comprise both resident and non-resident members who move in and out of the household, making it fluid and stretched. This study uses multiple in-depth interviews with the members of ten households, together with ancillary data, to investigate relationships between resident and non-resident household members and how they affect households’ experiences of illness and death due to HIV and AIDS. Widespread illness and death from HIV and AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal is having a devastating effect on households. As community-wide support networks are eroded, non-resident household members are becoming an ever more important safety net for households dealing with illness and death. Equally, non-resident household members with HIV and AIDS become a financial burden on the household if they return sick or die. Additionally, half of the households had fostered a child or children after the death of a non-resident or previously non-resident member.