Original Articles

The making of vulnerabilities: understanding the differentiated effects of HIV and AIDS among street traders in Warwick Junction, Durban, South Africa


The end of apartheid in South Africa has led to political-economic transition, the deregulation of cities, and increased population mobility, with growing numbers of people living and working in sub-standard and 'informal' urban conditions. These processes have created a fertile terrain for the rapid spread of HIV, especially in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Few studies have considered how the HIV epidemic's outcomes are interacting with other societal processes, such as globalisation and urbanisation, or how these processes collectively converge with place-specific conditions to expose, drive and compound vulnerabilities to HIV and AIDS. This paper links an analysis of the political economy of South Africa's HIV epidemic with findings from an ethnographic case study with street traders in Warwick Junction, the largest trading hub in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

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