The Relationship Between Labour Market Dynamics and HIV/AIDS Prevalence in South Africa: A Literature Review

by VASS, J, 2002
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

The impact of HIV/Aids on the South African labour market poses a potential threat to institutional and legislative transformation in the post-apartheid period. Vass assesses current research on the relationship between labour market dynamics and the prevalence of HIV/Aids. Studies on the impact of HIV/Aids often assume that the labour market is integrated. Results that illustrate differentiated HIV/Aids prevalence for race, gender and skill levels, for instance, tend to conclude that these stem from differences in society, without factoring in the nature of the labour market. However, the South African labour market is highly segmented. Since HIV/Aids disproportionately affects the economically active population, the interrelationship between labour market inequalities and segmentation as a risk indicator for HIV/Aids is particularly relevant. Vass highlights determinants of HIV susceptibility and risk group formation, and assesses how these interact with labour market differentiation and shape HIV/Aids prevalence. Since the projected trajectory of HIV/Aids informs strategic planning and resource allocation, vague assumptions about HIV susceptibility and risk may result in the Aids vulnerability of companies and sectors being underestimated. This may result in inefficient resource allocation and diffuse intervention patterns by stakeholders in the labour market.