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The article discusses the historical roots of the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Botswana. The point of departure is the debate on African sexuality. It is then shown that economic reasons that forced a large part of the men, and later also women, to engage in labour migration to South Africa and more recently to towns in Botswana, are probably the main explanation. The spatial splitting of households and patiners for prolonged periods of time and the resulting multilocality of fami lies is together with pre- and early colonial sexual norms contributing to an understanding of the present epidemic.
It is better to have unprotected sex, which gives you and your children food now and you die in 5 to 10 years, than to die of starvation tomorrow (a woman in a city slum)
Key words: HIV/AIDS; gender; political economy; Botswana