A Different Kind of AIDS: Alternative Explanations of HIV/AIDS in South African Townships

SKU: V6981
This book explores how HIV/AIDS is understood in South African townships. In South Africa, infection continues and AIDS deaths continue despite extensive educational efforts and the availability of antiretroviral treatment. The book focuses on non-scientific or alternative understandings of AIDS; the folk and lay theories that circulate within African communities.

Dickinson describes how these folk and lay theories constitute a plural belief structure that underlies and supports the de facto plural health care system operating in South Africa; a system which is readily acknowledged but rarely seriously engaged. Three major folk theories of AIDS are explored: religious, traditional African, and racial constructions of the disease. A range of lay theories, primarily ways of outsmarting the disease, are also described and explained.

These varied beliefs within the lives of township residents are taken from two different sources. First an action research project and, second, from in-depth accounts from township residents who were either infected or affected by AIDS on how they understood the disease.

These two approaches investigate how the wide spectrum of alternative explanations of AIDS continue to flourish, despite massive and prolonged public health campaigns based on and promoting the biomedical understanding of the disease.

About the author

David Dickinson is a professor of Sociology at Wits University. Although from the UK, South Africa is now home. His previous research in the field of HIV/AIDS has included workplace responses and peer education, the subject of a book, Changing the Course of AIDS. A regular visitor and part-time resident in South African townships, he is particularly concerned with the challenges faced by the country’s poor majority and their responses to these challenges.

Author: David Dickinson
ISBN: 9781920196981
d-PDF ISBN: 9781928232018


mobi file ISBN: 9781928232032
Size (mm): 235x155mm
Pages: 408pp
Format: Paperback
Colour: Black and White
Rights: World
Language: English
Publication Date: April 2014