The Effects of AIDS on Swaziland
Devastation in Africa’s “little
Swaziland- General Information
• Known as the “little kingdom of Africa”, it has a
land area of 6,704 sq. mi. (roughly the size of
New Jersey) and a population of 1.1 million
• The head of state is the king, called the
Ngwenyama, which means “lion”. King Mswati III
has been in power since 1987
• The legislature, called “Libandla”, is made up of
two houses. The Senate has 30 members, and the
House of Representatives has 65 members
• Highest adult AIDS prevalence rate in the
world, which currently stands at 26.1% of people
age 15 and up, and 38.8% of pregnant women
• Lowest life expectancy in the world, at 31.88
years, down from 57 years in the past two
• 10,000 adults and children died of AIDS in 2007
• There are currently more than 70,000 AIDS
orphans in Swaziland, 13% of children under 15;
15,000 families are headed by orphaned children
There are more than 70,000 children in
Swaziland who have been orphaned. These
children either live in the care of
grandparents or elder siblings, or wander
the land alone.
• Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, commonly known
as AIDS, is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus
• HIV is spread through contact with an infected person’s
bodily fluids, especially during sexual intercourse or sharing
of hypodermic needles associated with drug use.
• Experts hypothesize that HIV originated in west-central
Africa in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century
• Contraction of HIV leads to AIDS, which cannot directly kill
a person, but instead makes them much more susceptible
to deadly viral and bacterial infections.
• AIDS cannot be cured; instead focus has been placed on
preventing the spread of the deadly disease.
HIV-1, shown in green, budding from a cultured lymphocyte. HIV
attacks almost every organ in the body, lowering its defenses to
other viruses and bacteria.
• Swaziland is a small country in Southern Africa
• It is surrounded on three sides by South
Africa, and is bordered on the east by
• Swaziland is divided into four geographic
regions; the most densely populated, and also
most HIV prevalent, is the Middleveld, about
700 meters above sea level. The Middleveld
consists of west and central Swaziland.
Swaziland is located in Southern Africa, and is
bordered by South Africa to the south, west, and
north and by Mozambique to the east. The
capitol is Mbabane.
• Swaziland’s first case was reported in 1987
• In 1999, the king declared AIDS a “national
• Sometime between 2001 and 2008, Swaziland
passed Botswana and Lesotho to become the
country with the highest AIDS prevalence rate in
• Today, despite numerous prevention
programs, Swaziland remains the worst infected
country in the world. This leads us to ask…
• The two biggest reasons for the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in
Swaziland are polygamy and a popular movement to hide HIV status
• The practice of polygamy is the accepted norm in Swaziland; as a
result, many men, and even some women, have multiple sexual
partners at the same time. This has caused the HIV virus to spread
rapidly in a “chain reaction” type way
• Another serious cause of the epidemic is peoples’ unwillingness to
divulge their HIV status due to an enormous culture stigma
surrounding the issue. The government estimates that only 20% of
the population actually know their HIV status. Those who do know
it keep it a secret; people who are confirmed as HIV positive are
often disowned by their families and seen as immoral.
• The Swazi government has made plenty of free condoms
available to the general public at numerous distribution points
• Behavior change campaigns have been introduced, promoting
abstinence, condom use, and monogamy
• Programs geared towards the prevention of mother to child
transmission have been installed by UNICEF and AVERT in all
healthcare centers providing antenatal care. These programs
include voluntary testing, counseling, and the distribution of
the anti-viral drug Nepravine
• The availability of free testing for HIV has increased greatly in
the past few years. The government has been attempting to
encourage public figures to speak about their HIV status in an
attempt to remove the cultural boundaries surrounding HIV
testing and status.
What can YOU do?
• Donate to AVERT- An international charity dedicated
entirely to the control and elimination of HIV/AIDS. You
can read about this organization here:
• And then donate here:
• They accept credit cards, checks, and even Pay
Pal. They have a regular donation option in case you
would like to make periodic contributions.
• 26 May 2009. AVERT. 26 May 2009
• quot;AIDS.quot; Wikipedia. 25 May 2009. Wikipedia.
26 May 2009
• quot;Swaziland.quot; Wikipedia. 26 May 2009.
Wikipedia. 26 May 2009