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An evaluation of body mapping as a potential HIV/AIDS educational tool

Year: 2006
Working paper number: 169
Author: Wienand, Annabelle
Unit: ASRU

Since antiretroviral treatment was first made available in the public health care sector in 2004, there has been an urgent need to train people working in the field and increase biomedical knowledge about HIV/AIDS within the South African population.  This paper aims to assess the potential of further developing the technique of body mapping as an HIV/AIDS educational tool for adults in HIV-positive support groups. It will involve an evaluation of the Longlife Project, the body mapping workshop process and individual body maps.  While the over-arching intention of the Longlife Project was advocacy in the face of government resistance to providing antiretroviral treatment at the time, its proposed advocacy could not take place without education.  Building on this premise, together with an analysis of the body maps and interview transcripts found in the book Longlife: Positive HIV Stories it is suggested the creation of body maps increased biomedical understanding of HIV/AIDS and to some extent heath-enhancing behaviour.  Apart from gaining factual knowledge about their health, the women involved in the project also engaged in conversation that provided a rich opportunity for discussing the personal, emotional, cultural and socio-economic challenges of being HIV-positive in South Africa.  Both the body mapping and conversation processes will be situated within adult education theory and discussed in relation to 'transformational learning', 'critical consciousness', community art-based learning, peer education and Participatory Research practice.  By assessing the strengths and failures of these concepts within an African context the potential for body mapping to be employed as an HIV/AIDS education tool will be further developed.

Publication file: wp169.pdf