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Publication Details

Reference
Costarelli, Edda (2002) HIV/AIDS, Democracy & Citizenship. The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa : 1-10.

Summary
Two decades years after the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was first identified, HIV/AIDS has become the most devastating disease humankind has ever faced. As the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) stated alarmingly, since the epidemic began, more than 60 million people have been infected with the virus, and 2.3 million have died in Africa only. HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, and worldwide it is still the fourth biggest killer, with 14,000 infections occurring each day.

How can enhanced democratic practices make a difference? A six-point plan:

1) Make civil and political rights entrenched by recent democratisation processes a catalyst towards effective realization of economic, social, and cultural rights;

2) Enfranchise and empower neglected sections of society to voice their concerns and change unsustainable patterns and irresponsible government policies;

3) Foster positive issue-based voting and representation, campaign reform, and accountability of party policies;

4) Strengthen legitimacy through broad based participation and enhanced voter turnout proportions;

5) Fight stigma and contribute towards moral rehabilitation of people living with HIV/AIDS by fully upholding, extending and preserving their rights to participate in the voting process.

6) Provide reasonable accommodations in the voting process with special voting programmes, mobile voting facilities and provisions for absentee voting, early voting, proxy voting or mail voting according to context.

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