Perceptions of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the operational capability of the infantry section

Van Niekerk, Paul Michael (2004-12)

Thesis (MMil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: HIV/AIDS is spreading through Africa in epidemic proportions. Hundreds and thousands of people are infected on a daily basis. This pandemic destroys the emotional and physical strength of individuals. In Sub-Saharan Africa there is an estimated 28,1 million people living with HIV/AIDS. The military forces of Africa are not immune to this. Growing concern has shifted the focus of HIV/AIDS to the armed forces because they generally have higher levels of HIV/AIDS than the civilian population. Within the military it is critical that HIV/AIDS be managed in a manner that retards the spread of the virus as well as the negative impact that it has. The cornerstone of combat efficiency within the SANDF is its infantry section, a group of people forming the basis for the rest of the operational force structure that is deployed within an operational area. The deployment areas are dangerous and unstable and are conducive to the spread of HIV/AIDS. When forces are deployed within the operational area, they forge a bond built on trust, loyalty and a confidence in each other's work capability. HIV/AIDS impacts on this capability and results in an environment characterised by low morals, discrimination and stigma. The important element is to make soldiers aware of the implications of HIV/AIDS, and the perceptions that exist about people living with the disease. The success lies in the correct management in terms of prevention and protection. A clear understanding of the disease is the most important element in starting an effective prevention programme. People have to understand that HIV/AIDS is not only a medical problem, but also has far-reaching social and security implications. It not only affects the infected but also their families, relatives and friends. The infection has an enormous social impact that should not be underestimated. If left unchecked, HIV/AIDS will cripple the SANDF. implications. It not only affects the infected but also their families, relatives and friends. The infection has an enormous social impact that should not be underestimated. If left unchecked, HIV/AIDS will cripple the SANDF.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: MIVNIGS word tans in Afrika deur duisende mense versprei en bereik epidemiese vlakke. Hierdie virus val die mens se fisiese en geestelike krag aan. In Afrika benede die Sahara is daar omtrent 28,1 miljoen mense wat met MIVNIGS leef. Die militêre mag van Afrika is nie imuun teen die stryd. Grootskaal se kommer is gefokus op die gewapende magte van Afrika omdat die militêr geneig is om meer MIVNIGS positiewe mense te hê as die siviele omgewing. Binne die militêr is dit krities dat MIVNIGS op so "n manier bestuur word dat die verspreiding van hierdie siekte belemmer word. Die infanterie seksie is die hoeksteen van vuurkrag effektiwieteit binne die SANW. Hierdie seksie is die fondament van die operasionele mag wat binne operasionele gebiede ontplooi word. Hierdie gebiede word gekenmerk deur gevaar en onstabiliteit wat die verspreiding van MIVNIGS vergemakiIk. Wanneer hierdie mag ontplooi word, is dit op die beginsel van vertroue in mekaar, lojaliteit en in "n geloofwaardigheid in mekaar se werksvermoë. MIVNIGS impak direk op hierdie beginsels en veroorsaak "n omgewing wat deur lae morele waardes, diskriminasie en negatiewe persepsies gekenmerk word. Dit is belangrik dat die soldaat ingelig word oor die persepsies en impak wat MIVNIGS moontlik kan hê. Die korrekte bestuur sal die mate van sukses bepaal hoe hierdie virus gehanteer kan word. "n Volle begrip sal die deurslaggewende beginsel wees in die effektiewe beheer van MIVNIGS word. Mense moet verstaan dat MIVNIGS nie net "n mediese probleem is maar dat dit ook "n verreikende effek het op die sekuriteit en sosiale dele van ons lewens. Dit impak ook op die families van die wat siek is, en die impak moet nie onderskat word nie. Die SANW sal tot sy knie gebring word sou hierdie virus onbepaald voortgaan.

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