Apartheid South Africa provided a rich societal Petri dish within which HiV and AiDS could flourish. The epidemics of the past (for instance the Spanish flu after World War i) and the present (such as H1N1 in 2009) demonstrate that major epidemics do not crop up by chance. instead they occur when circumstances offer a favourable breeding ground to pathogens. As is the case with individuals, a population’s immunity to societal ills can be weakened by several co-factors, and the South Africa of 1982 (when the first AiDS deaths were recorded) was a society most vulnerable to HiV. This confirms louis Pasteur’s notion that ‘[t]he microbe is nothing; the terrain everything’ (quoted in Serpa 2002: 43). The ‘terrain’, it is important to note, refers as much to biological factors as it does to non-biological ones, and hence the socio-political context of South Africa in the early 1980s is a significant determinant of the spread of the epidemic.