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Ambiguities of 'culture' and the antiretroviral rollout in South Africa

Year: 2006
Working paper number: 156
Author: Ashforth, Adam
Unit: ASRU
Abstract:

This paper reflects on two contrasting cultural strategies for supporting the rollout of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART): The Treatment Action Campaign's Treatment Literacy Programme which seeks to educate people into a conventional scientific understanding of HIV disease and treatment; and a Department of Health Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) video which harnesses putative 'indigenous knowledge' relating to illness and healing.  It points out that the latter strategy risks connecting with fears regarding the 'African science' of witchcraft. This can serve to confuse, rather than clarify, ambiguities concerning the notion of 'cure'. Science education is challenging, but has the potential to empower patients to manage their illness effectively. 


Publication file: wp156.pdf
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