Although Africa represents 12% of the worldís population, over 60% of the AIDS-infected population resides on the continent. The African continent is represented by an eclectic group of cultures, customs, politics, economics, and societies. Yet, common stresses between African countries, such as famine, lack of educational infrastructure, wars, and lack of accessibility to health care and opportunities to create wealth have all handicapped Africa’s overall progress in tackling the AIDS/HIV crisis. Even beyond the incompetence of government infrastructure, a large part of the virusí rapid spread has to do with sexual cultural norms in many African traditions. The norm of multiple sexual partners, particularly in males, is common. Promiscuity demonstrates the absolute disregard of factoring potential risks into sexuality in Africa. During his 2005 trial after being accused of rape, current South Africa President Jacob Zuma admitted to having unprotected sex with a woman that he knew was HIV-positive. Among his defense rested on the fact that he took a shower afterwards to cut the risk of contracting HIV. Attitudes towards sexuality and its consequences across Africa in some ways are similar, yet in other ways very different. In that way, psychosexual dysfunctions show themselves in many forms that depend on cultural norms and circumstance in Africa.
One common trait among African cultural beliefs and practices is the patriarchal gender system that elevates males to positions of power and women to subordinate positions. One consistency among African women is that a large number in the continent lack control over own sexuality. Part of this has to do with tradition rooted in the husbands being the bread earners and fighters, and women the nurturers. In a continent ravaged by poverty as a whole, this patriarchal society has translated into better opportunities, if there are any to be afforded, to males over females. Economic dependence has undermined women’s right to safe sexuality. Consistent in the poorer regions of the continent, women’s health needs are widely neglected. Poor nutrition and overall physical and mental health have made sterility the most common form (more…)