Political leadership’s responsibilities, first and foremost, is the health and welfare of their citizens. Political leaders have the opportunity to pass legislation and an established platform in which to influence attitudes and beliefs of health- related issues. The HIV/ AIDS pandemic is one such opportunity. However, it has the most challenges such as having the worst health and educational infrastructure, in addition to being geographically “misplaced” to deal with the crisis (Karan, et al, 2017).
African leadership is challenged with long standing societal norms and expectations that exist when it comes to individuals making decisions about their sexual behavior. For example, with the existence of gender inequality, if a woman asks a man to use a condom, she is essentially accusing him of being unfaithful. High level political leaders can influence the populations attitudes and knowledge about how HIV/ AIDS is transmitted (Goliber, 2017).
There have been successful campaigns recently where high- level leadership have either publicly been tested for the virus, or have made their test results public in an effort to encourage testing of the masses. In addition, military police have committed publicly to be circumcised. This effort has been spearheaded by South African’s President Zuma in an attempt to squelch former President Mbeki’s denial of HIV/ AIDS existence in the early 2000’s (Karan, et al, 2017).
There is still much work to do. Leaders are faced with solving larger problems such as poverty and the abuse of political power. No permanent solution to the HIV/AIDS pandemic will occur without first solving these issues.
Karan, A., Hartford, E., & Coates, T. J. (2017). The potential for political leadership in HIV/AIDS communication campaigns in Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5328337/
Golibar, T. (2002). Africa’s Political Response to HIV/AIDS. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from