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Waiting to Happen: HIV/AIDS in South Africa—The Bigger Picture

Liz Walker, Graeme Reid, and Morna Cornell
Waiting to Happen: HIV/AIDS in South Africa—The Bigger Picture
ISBN: 978-1-58826-263-9
2004/143 pages
Large format, w/ extensive color photographs

"The authors of Waiting to Happen debunk simplistic explanations of the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa."—Ezra Chitando, Journal of Modern African Studies

"This is a beautiful and moving book....a must read for all who are interested in the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa." —H. Robert Malinowsky, AIDS Book Review Journal

"A vivid and realistic picture of some of the experiences of the thirty-five million people in the developing world that face death as a result of the health crisis posed by HIV/AIDS."—Sheila D. Miller, Journal of Health and Social Policy

"An extraordinary array of factual information.... The provocative photographs ... depict the stark reality of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.... The authors have judiciously compiled thought-provoking interviews and startling statistics; the result is an educational tool which urgently pleads for the world's attention."—Jerome Teelucksingh, African Studies Review


Why are more women than men in South Africa HIV positive? What explains the exponential growth of AIDS in the country? How is HIV/AIDS understood in various cultural belief systems? What can be done about the epidemic? This powerful book—incorporating evocative photographs and the voices of scholars, practitioners, and victims of the epidemic—looks at the social, cultural, and historical aspects of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.


Liz Walker is senior researcher and Graeme Reid is researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg, South Africa. Morna Cornell is former director of the AIDS Consortium in Johannesburg.


  • Introduction.
  • Sex and Power in South Africa.
  • "An Epidemic Waiting to Happen."
  • Cultural Collisions: Popular Understandings of HIV/AIDS.
  • Confronting the Epidemic.
No rights in southern Africa.