HIV/AIDS and 'othering' in South Africa: the blame goes on.

Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa.
Culture Health & Sexuality (Impact Factor: 1.55). 02/2006; 8(1):67-77. DOI: 10.1080/13691050500391489
Source: PubMed


In order to explore the relevance of social concepts such as stigma and denial to the transmission of HIV, this qualitative study sought to examine cultural and racial contexts of behaviour relevant to the risk of HIV infection among South Africans. A cultural model was used to analyse transcripts from 39 focus group discussions and 28 key informant interviews. Results reveal how cultural and racial positionings mediate perceptions of the groups considered to be responsible and thus vulnerable to HIV infection and AIDS. An othering of blame for HIV and AIDS is central to these positionings, with blame being refracted through the multiple prisms of race, culture, homophobia and xenophobia. The study's findings raise important questions concerning social life in South Africa and the limitation of approaches that do not take into account critical contextual factors in the prevention of HIV and care for persons living with AIDS.

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Available from: Brandon Brown, Nov 13, 2014
    • "All eight said that foreign men had sex with South African women, causing the disease to spread quickly. Blaming of the foreign other is common elsewhere (Petros et al. 2006) and another attempt by the respondents to make sense of the epidemic within their familiar social milieu. "
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    ABSTRACT: South Africa, like other sub-Saharan African countries, is in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Older women, here defined as aged 60 years and older, while at lower risk of infection than those aged 20–50, are amongst those deeply ‘affected’ by the epidemic. In rural areas, older women, who have always played central roles in social reproduction in South African households and families, bear the brunt of care giving for the sick and dying. For this reason, it is important to explore how these women understand the epidemic. In South Africa, the prominence of traditional healers and medicine alongside biomedicine has led to multiple ways of perceiving, explaining and treating illness. This paper explores the various discourses older women in rural South Africa employ to make sense of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their daily lives. The aim is to better understand how these women construct the epidemic and how this knowledge can be used to benefit education and treatment endeavours in similar contexts. This paper draws on interview data collected as part of the Gogo Project conducted in the Medical Research Council (MRC)/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit. Sixty women between the ages of 60 and 75 years living in the rural Agincourt sub-district participated in three in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The respondents in this study relied on a variety of discourses to make sense of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They displayed a high level of knowledge based on biomedical education, however, they expressed ideas, often simultaneously, that seemed to contradict this education. Their ability to employ seemingly contradictory discourses represents the need to place the epidemic within familiar ‘explanatory models’ that are based on these women’s life experiences and local knowledge.
    African Journal of AIDS Research 12/2013; 12(2):95-104. · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    • "VCT services enable uninfected people to remain so and enable those infected with HIV to plan for the future and prevent further transmission of the retrovirus. Petros et al. (2006) state that culture and racial attitudes determine the perceptions of individuals who stigmatise those who are HIV infected or who have AIDS. Nqojane (2009) suggests that VCT may also play a role in the de-stigmatisation of the pandemic. "

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    • "At the beginning of the pandemic, HIV/AIDS-related stigma was framed as an 'African disease' – one from which the rest of the world tries to distance itself (see for example, Patton 1990, Jungar and Oinas 2004). The resulting 'blaming' (Petros et al. 2006) that occurs is characteristic of how HIV/AIDS remains constructed as an illness of poor, Black communities, with women receiving much of the blame. This is particularly true in South Africa where racial wounds still fester in the wake of the violence, abandonment, and suffering that characterized the apartheid era. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we describe the first phase of a research project designed to quantify the role of race and cultural identity in HIV-related stigma. The ultimate purpose is to develop an intervention that could be implemented in Black and Colored communities in Cape Town, South Africa. The PEN-3 model provided the theoretical basis for this research. A total of 397 Black and Colored participants were recruited from two communities to complete a 16-item multi-part questionnaire that was developed based on focus groups and key informant interviews. A total of 196 questionnaires were administered in Mitchell's Plain and 201 were administered in Gugulethu. Both communities are located approximately 20 km outside the city of Cape Town in an area known as the Cape Flats. Data were collected on individuals' perceptions of stigma in the contexts of the family, healthcare settings, and the community. However, only the family context is explored here. Participants were also asked to identify what they felt should be the most important area of emphasis for researchers in eliminating stigma. Similarities and differences in perceptions between Black and Colored South Africans were examined. Data were compiled on the family support domain of stigma. Though most either disagreed or were neutral, nearly equal numbers of Blacks and Coloreds thought stigma occurred in families. Blacks were also more likely than Coloreds to report experiencing stigma in their families. Both Blacks and Coloreds felt the family should be the most important focus of interventions for eliminating HIV-related stigma. Within the context of the family race, cultural values, and religious and spiritual values all contribute to HIV stigma in South Africa. Interventions should address the role of stigma within families in order to promote better HIV prevention, treatment, and care.
    Ethnicity and Health 10/2010; 15(5):441-58. DOI:10.1080/13557858.2010.486029 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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