While debate about the impact of HIV/AIDS on socio-economic development has been rife and robust, the political discourse around the pandemic has tended somehow to lag far behind. It is now well established that HIV/AIDS represents not only a health catastrophe but, primarily, a development crisis. Yet only recently have we come to accept that the epidemic is, in fact, a governance crisis too. Much as the epidemic tends to have adverse effects on socio-economic development, it also has deleterious effects on democratic governance. This article thus teases out the possible impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on democracy, specifically focusing on citizen participation in South Africa. Within this discourse I deal with the extent to which we can explain voter participation trends between the 1994 and 2004 South African elections as informed, in part, by the debilitating effect of HIV/AIDS on both infected and affected citizens. If this is correct, HIV/AIDS is surely contributing to one of the dangers (or deficits) of modern democracy, namely voter apathy.
File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections