MPhil study projects

The HIV/Aids socioeconomic impact on young women transitioning out of state social assistance, Umlazi township, Durban

Student: Nozuko Lucricia Majola

Country: South Africa

The HIV epidemic among adolescent girls and young women is propelled by social and economic determinants, necessitating a focus on mitigating factors to curb risky behaviours. Poverty and unemployment heighten vulnerability to HIV contraction in this demographic.

Social grants offer effective support in combating HIV, yet the termination of the childcare grant at age 18 poses challenges. A qualitative study in Umlazi, Durban, involved 10 young women (19-24 years) transitioning from social grant reliance. Their experiences post-grant termination were examined alongside insights from eight caregivers.

Participants came from diverse family structures, with most originating from impoverished backgrounds reliant on social grants. Grant termination adversely impacted individuals and families, precipitating depression, hopelessness and even suicidal ideation among young women. Peer and familial pressures drove some into transactional sexual relationships, heightening risks of HIV, gender-based violence and unintended pregnancy. To address HIV risks effectively, alternative safety nets are imperative for unemployed young women, highlighting the need for holistic intervention beyond employment and education initiatives.