Life kills : surviving the battles of everyday life in an age of HIV/AIDS

Human, Johanna S. (2010-12)

Thesis (MPhil (Sociology and Social Anthropology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study gives us insight into the daily lives and battles for survival of poor women in an age of HIV/AIDS in rural areas of the Western Cape, South Africa. I set out to get an understanding of the shortcomings of the current interventions aimed at combating HIV and AIDS. Soon after I commenced my fieldwork I realised that it is the socio-economic circumstances of the people I encountered that was mostly responsible for their HIV positive status or the reason why they are living with HIV/AIDS rather than the choices they make. However, most of the interventions aimed at combating the global HIV/AIDS epidemic focuses on behavioural interventions or the provision of medical care. By entering the spheres in which women living with HIV/AIDS live their daily lives I aimed to get a better comprehension of the challenges they encounter and why the interventions that focus on behaviour and medical treatment fail to address the needs of these women. In doing so I learned about their struggles to merely stay alive and that protecting yourself against a disease like HIV/AIDS can appear as a luxury. A luxury you cannot afford when your only means of an income is your body which you need to barter in exchange for money or food and shelter. I learned about their powerlessness in protecting themselves against the disease and the loneliness they have to endure once they learn they are infected with the virus. In addition to this, it also came to my attention that their conditions of poverty are of such an extent that even ‘free’ medical treatment can sometimes be too expensive for them to afford because of hidden costs such as transport. At the end of my study it was my conclusion that we need to pay more attention to the root causes of the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to combat it successfully, also at the entry levels of the healthcare system.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie bied insig in die daaglikese lewens en stryd om oorlewing van arm vroue in ‘n tyd van MIV/VIGS in die landelike gebiede van die Wes-Kaap, Suid-Afrika. Ek het die studie begin met ‘n poging om die tekortkominge van die huidige intervensies om MIV/VIGS te bekamp beter te verstaan. Kort nadat ek met my veldwerk begin het het ek reeds tot die besef gekom dat die die sosio-ekonomiese omstandigehede die oorsaak is dat die vroue met die virus leef, eerder as die keuses wat hulle vrywilliglik maak. Ten spyte van my bevinding fokus meeste intervensies tans op gedragsveranderinge en mediese behandeling. Ek het die lewensruimtes van hierdie vroue binnegegaan in ‘n poging om die daaglikse uitdagings te verstaan, asook die redes hoekom die huidige intervensies nie hierdie vroue se behoeftes aanspreek nie. Deur dit te doen het ek geleer hoe dit as ‘n luuksheid beskou kan word om jouself teen infeksie met die virus te beskerm. ‘n Luuksheid wat jy nie kan bekostig indien jou lyf jou enigste bron van inkomste is wat jy moet gebruik om geld mee in te win of kos en woonplek te verseker nie. Vroue is dikwels magteloos om hulself teen infeksie met MIV/VIGS te beskerm en die eensaamheid waarmee hul moet saamleef wanneer hul wel met die virus ge-infekteer is. Dit het ook onder my aandag gekom dat die armoede van so ‘n aard is dat selfs ‘gratis’ mediese behandeling soms onbekostigbaar is as gevolg van versteekte kostes, soos vervoer. Aan die einde van my studie was dit my gevolgtrekking dat daar meer aandag geskenk moet word aan die oorsake wat aanleiding gee tot die verspreiding van die MIV/VIGS epidemie indien ons dit suksesvol wil bekamp, ook op die intreevlakke van die gesondheidstelsel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5219
This item appears in the following collections: