Witches, Westerners, and HIV: AIDS and Cultures of Blame in Africa

1st Edition

Alexander Rödlach

Routledge
Published October 15, 2006
Reference - 258 Pages
ISBN 9781598740349 - CAT# Y287955

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Summary

A witch's curse, an imperialist conspiracy, a racist plot—HIV/AIDS is a catastrophic health crisis with complex cultural dimensions. From small villages to the international system, explanations of where it comes from, who gets it, and who dies are tied to political agendas, religious beliefs, and the psychology of devastating grief. Frequently these explanations conflict with science and clash with prevention and treatment programs. In Witches, Westerners, and HIV Alexander Rödlach draws on a decade of research and work in Zimbabwe to compare beliefs about witchcraft and conspiracy theories surrounding HIV/AIDS in Africa. He shows how both types of beliefs are part of a process of blaming others for AIDS, a process that occurs around the globe but takes on local, culturally specific forms. He also demonstrates the impact of these beliefs on public health and advocacy programs, arguing that cultural misunderstandings contribute to the failure of many well-intentioned efforts. This insightful book provides a cultural perspective essential for everyone interested in AIDS and cross-cultural health issues.

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