HIV/AIDS, women's migration from Plumtree to Johannesburg, and changing perceptions about disease and the diseased, 1995-2006


  • Thembani Dube Stellenbosch University, South Africa



Women, HIV/AIDS, Perception, Plumtree, Malayitsha, Johannesburg, Undocumented migrants


This paper seeks to show how migration of the women from Plumtree district to Johannesburg between 1995 and 2006 shaped the spread of HIV/AIDS disease. The focus of this study is twofold: (1) to outline how the migration of women from rural Plumtree exposed them to HIV transmission beginning from their journey to Johannesburg, and (2) to understand societal perceptions on women who had HIV/AIDS. The paper also highlights how the terminology used in different epochs illustrate the changing perceptions about disease and the diseased women between 1995 and 2006. By so doing, the paper engages with the language used reflecting on the interface of women’s migration, with HIV/AIDS. Above all, the paper contributes to the literature on migration, women and HIV and opines that although migration has a negative impact on both men and women who leave their countries of origin, women suffer more and this is also complicated by the HIV/AIDS disease. The paper uses secondary sources and draws from life history interviews conducted with undocumented migrant women from Plumtree district who live (d) and work(ed) in Johannesburg to explore the lives of these migrant women living with HIV/AIDS.


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