Aging, (un)certainty and HIV management in South Africa

Andrea Rishworth, Brian King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Research within geography and cognate disciplines demonstrates how (un)certainty informs relational, emergent and open-ended processes of healthy aging. Although (un)certainty shapes aging health inequities and possibilities for reconfiguration, research often centres on challenges for aging individuals, eliding more dynamic, complex and contradictory factors shaping the health and wellbeing of aging individuals and societies. This paper uses qualitative research with older women in South Africa to engage contradictions in (un)certainty. We argue that while advances in HIV/AIDS testing and treatment allow individuals to grow older with greater certainty, longer lives managing HIV rework new forms of ill-health through contested disease etiology, indeterminant multitemporal processes, and dubious livelihood prospects. (Un)certain HIV landscapes can create new forms of disadvantage and subjection, while in other instances encourage opportunities for healthier lives and pragmatic social change. The findings highlight the importance of considering (un)certain aging, health and disease realities and the structures that assuage them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2552
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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