Culture and HIV/AIDS in Zambia, 1984-2016.
MetadataShow full item record
Most studies on HIV and AIDS in Zambia have concentrated on social-economic and political aspects. The cultural aspects are merely mentioned in passing or completely ignored. However, this study is cognizant of the fact that cultural norms and values have interacted with HIV and AIDS aspects in various ways. Therefore, confronting the epidemic requires an understanding and acknowledgement of these practices and beliefs. Since HIV and AIDS was unknown in Zambian tradition, it was perceived as an old disease variously called kafunga, kaliondeonde, kapopo or kahungo, in some local languages. The disease had symptoms that were very similar to those of Tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS. People’s perception and reaction to HIV and AIDS were also rooted in their traditional beliefs about the causes of disease and death which included witchcraft, displeasure of ancestral spirits, and pollution illnesses such as kafunga or natural causation. When HIV and AIDS became acknowledged in Zambian society by the late 1980s, myths, misconceptions and cultural practices towards its transmission, prevention and cure unfolded. The cultural practices included; sexual cleansing, dry sex, multiple sexual partners, gender and initiation ceremonies. These cultural practices together with myths had debilitating effects on government and Non-Governmental Organisations’ interventions in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The government quickly embraced western programmes and dictated the abolition of traditional beliefs instead of integrating them. Intervention programmes such as condom use, Voluntary Counseling and Testing, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission and Ant Retro Viral Therapy were in turn resisted by local communities that were deep rooted in culture. Non-Governmental Organisations, on the other hand, targeted their response to HIV and AIDS towards specific sections of the population such as selected shanty compounds, towns and villages and limited interventions to these sections. This study examines the myths, misconceptions and cultural practices that accelerated the spread of HIV and AIDS in Zambia between 1984 and 2010. It specifically considers the myths, misconceptions, cultural beliefs and practices associated with HIV and AIDS. It also examines the effectiveness of donor and government intervention programmes vis-à-vis the mitigation of the traditional cultural values and myths.
The University of Zambia
SubjectMyths and misconceptions--HIV and AIDS.
Myths and facts about AIDS.
Master of Arts in history