Jul 16, 2014

HIV in (and out of) the clinic: biomedicine, traditional medicine and spiritual healing in Harare

SAHARA J : Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance
Stephen O'Brien, Alex Broom

Abstract

Contemporary lived experiences of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are shaped by clinical and cultural encounters with illness. In sub-Saharan countries such as Zimbabwe, HIV is treated in very different ways in various therapeutic contexts including by biomedical experts, traditional medicine and faith healers. The co-existence of such expertise raises important questions around the potencies and limits of medicalisation and alternative healing practices in promoting HIV recovery. First, in this study, drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with 60 people from poor urban areas in Harare, we explore the experiences of people living with and affected by HIV. Specifically, we sought to document, interrogate and reflect on their perceptions and experiences of biomedicine in relation to traditional medicine and spiritual healing. Their accounts indicate that traditional medicine and spiritual beliefs continue to significantly influence the way in which HIV is understood, and the forms of help and care people seek. Second, we observe the dramatic and overwhelmingly beneficial impact of Antiretroviral Therapy and conclude through Zimbabwean's own stories that limitations around delivery and wider structural inequalities imp...Continue Reading

  • References32
  • Citations6

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Oral History as Topic
HIV Infections
Attitude to Health
Qualitative Research
Teens
Anti-HIV Agents
Medicine, Traditional
Spiritual Healing
Biomedicine
African Witch Doctor

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