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Adult mortality and household food security in rural South Africa: Does AIDS represent a unique mortality shock?


  • Wayne Twine
  • Lori Mae Hunter


HIV/AIDS has been described as a household shock distinct from others faced by rural households. This study examines this characterisation by analysing the impact of an adult HIV/AIDS-related death on household food security, compared with households experiencing either no mortality or a sudden non-HIV/AIDS adult death. The research is based in the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in rural South Africa, and focuses on a sample of 290 households stratified by experience of a recent prime-age adult death. HIV/AIDS-related mortality was associated with reduced household food security. However, much of this negative association also characterised households experiencing a non-HIV/AIDS mortality. In addition, other household characteristics, especially socioeconomic status, were strong determinants of food security regardless of mortality experience. We therefore recommend that development policy and interventions aimed at enhancing food security target vulnerable households broadly, rather than solely targeting those directly affected by HIV/AIDS mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Wayne Twine & Lori Mae Hunter, 2011. "Adult mortality and household food security in rural South Africa: Does AIDS represent a unique mortality shock?," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 431-444, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:28:y:2011:i:4:p:431-444
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2011.605559

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    Cited by:

    1. L. J. S. Baiyegunhi & B. B. Oppong & G. M. Senyolo, 2016. "Mopane worm (Imbrasia belina) and rural household food security in Limpopo province, South Africa," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(1), pages 153-165, February.
    2. Nyantakyi-Frimpong, Hanson & Mambulu, Faith Nankasa & Bezner Kerr, Rachel & Luginaah, Isaac & Lupafya, Esther, 2016. "Agroecology and sustainable food systems: Participatory research to improve food security among HIV-affected households in northern Malawi," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 89-99.

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