How did the social, economic and political impacts of Apartheid affect the AIDS epidemic in South Africa?

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Systemic racism, vigilante racism, and general state violence and oppression directly correlate to health outcomes of people who have been forced to endure these oppressions. Even without having an autoimmune disease, the health outcomes of black people living under a racist state or society is worse than that of white people's health due to the effects racism has on one's mental and physical health and racism-based barriers to health care. Some examples of this are constant stress, hyper vigilance, depression, feelings of hopelessness, high blood pressure, migraines, PTSD, and racism within healthcare.

In apartheid-era South Africa, black people were actively oppressed by the white-controlled government and by the majority of the white citizenry who, at the time, overwhelmingly participated in racist acts and racist violence against black people. Anti-black racism and homophobia directly meant that black people affected by AIDS were far less likely to be given any kind of adequate health care and were, instead, subjected to racist, as well as homophobic and transphobic acts of violence. The white population further dehumanized and demonized black people affected by AIDS.

In apartheid South Africa, over 80% of the black South African population were forced to live in rural ghettos that accounted for 13% of the size of South Africa. As such, HIV/AIDS could spread rapidly but maintain somewhat contained to these sectioned off ghettos, and therefore not threaten, to nearly the same degree, the white population of South Africa. The only black people who were actively receiving any kind of health care intervention by the apartheid government were urban black workers working under white households and white bosses. As such, the apartheid government worked to ensure that these white people were shielded from the spread of the disease. Through social, political, and economic means, the apartheid government actively chose to withhold health care from black South Africans affected by AIDS, and to prioritize the well-being of wealthy white South Africans.

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