Addressing the HIV and AIDS stigma : a pastoral approach for church leaders in Khayelitsha

Niyukuri, Benaya (2012-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: A research study was conducted in the form of a literature review to explore the situation of HIV and AIDS stigma in Khayelitsha in order to propose a Pastoral Approach for church leaders in that township. In this regard, the research study established that HIV and AIDS related stigma is the main barrier to any effort in fighting the HIV and AIDS epidemic. The aims of the research were to understand the causes and the effects of HIV and AIDS stigma, examine the Church as a healing community, construct a biblical and theological reflection on HIV and AIDS stigma, and make recommendations useful for the church in dealing with HIV and AIDS stigma. The research indicated that 'stigma‘ is a term that was used throughout history to mean a mark put on people who are regarded as different from others. In terms of HIV and AIDS, stigma is seen as an attitude shaping the way PLWHA are treated in the community. Among the causes of stigma related to HIV and AIDS are the fear of HIV and AIDS as a dangerous and infectious disease, the link between HIV and AIDS and sexual immorality, lack or distortion of information about HIV and AIDS, lack or withdrawal of resources from PLWHA, gender imbalance, and gossip and insults directed at PLWHA. According to research, the effects that come from HIV and AIDS stigma are devastating. They include fear of disclosure of HIV and AIDS status, difficulty in providing care and support for PLWHA, and acceleration of death for PLWHA. As for the biblical and theological reflection on HIV and AIDS stigma, it has been established that leprosy was the biblical disease compared to HIV and AIDS. While the OT model isolated people living with leprosy, Jesus accepted them and healed them in the NT. The OT model has often been used by the church to marginalise PLWHA on the grounds that it is God‘s punishment for sexual sin. The research does not deny the fact that God punishes sin through disease, but it is important to note that disease is not found to be the only form of God‘s punishment, and, in fact, one may not conclude that every disease is a consequence of sin. After all, God dealt with sin by punishing Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for the debts of sinners, and they are now allowed to enter God‘s kingdom freely. The Church is thus meant to be a community where holistic healing takes place through activities such as the teaching and preaching of God‘s word, koinōnia and diakōnia, as well as through prayer. In that sense, PLWHA are also included in the Body of Christ as charismatic beings, and should receive care spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically just as they also contribute uniquely to the wellbeing of the Church. The research suggests that in Khayelitsha, church leaders should join hands against HIV and AIDS stigma. They first of all need to confess any former failure to take action, and then work on a paradigm shift in order to change the way they have been dealing with PLWHA in their churches. In obedience to the mission of Jesus Christ, the Bible should be interpreted in a way that does not stigmatize PLWHA, but rather stimulates church leaders in Khayelitsha to stand up and take care of those who are suffering.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die konteks van die studie is die situasie van MIV en VIGS binne die Township van Khayelitsha. Dit fokus op die vraagstuk van stigma ten einde 'n pastorale benadering vir kerkleiers in Khayelitsha te ontwerp. Alhoewel die faktor van deelnemende waarneming 'n rol sal speel, is die navorsing hoofsaaklik 'n literatuurstudie. Die voorveronderstelling van die navorsingsontwerp is dat stigmatisering binne die spesifieke kultuursituasie van Khayelitsha een van die groot stremmende faktore is om die epidemie doeltreffend te bestuur. Die verdere doel van die navorsing is om die oorsaaklike faktore asook die effek van stigmatisering binne hierdie Township te verken; om te bepaal wat word pastoraal verstaan onder die term "Die Kerk as 'n Helende Gemeenskap"; om vanuit 'n Bybelse perspektief teologies na te dink oor stigma binne die epidemie asook om voorstelle te maak vir doeltreffende kerklike leierskap. Die term 'stigma‘ in die geskiedenis is gebruik om mense te etiketteer as verskillend en hul sodoende van 'n bepaalde gemeenskap te isoleer. Stigmatisering dui dan op 'n bepaaldelewenstyl en houding wa tmense watleef met MIV & VIGS binne 'n bepaalde sosiale konteks te hanteer. Daar bestaan 'n noue verband tussen vrees en stigmatisering. Dit is die vrees om deur die virus geïnfekteer te raak. MIV & VIGS is inderdaad gekoppel aan die vrees vir dood en sterwe. Daarbestaanook die assosiasie van seksuele immoraliteit. Voorts is daar die faktor van ontoepaslike inligting oor die toestand en die gevaar van onvoldoende medikasie en ondersteuningstelsels. Die virus dring die gender-vraagstuk binne en gee aanleidng tot skinder en suspisie. Dit is bevind dat een van die groot stremmende faktore is die vrees om te ontsluit. Mense wil nie hul status weet nie. Daar is dikwels probleme rakende ondersteuningstelsels in die Township wat nie doeltreffend is nie. Toepaslike sorg ontbreek ook. 'n Bybelse en teologiese refleksie sien dikwelsm elaatsheid as 'n ekwivalent van die virus. In die OT is mense dikwels vanuit die gemeenskap geban. Daarteenoor het Jesus melaatses aanvaar en genees. Die verband met melaatsheid gee dikwels daartoe aanleiding dat mense wat met MIV & VIGS leef, gemarginaliseer word en dat MIV & VIGS as 'n straf van God op seksuele sonde gesien word. Die navorsing erken die verband tussen sonde en straf. Die verband sonde-siekte kan egter nie kousaal oorsaaklik gesien word as 'n verklaringsbeginsel nie. Die verband is nie logies-reglynig nie. Die feit is dat Jesus ons straf gedra het en dat sy plaasvervangende lyding 'n ander teologiese dinamika in die verband sonde-siekte-straf inbring. Sondaars is bevry en kan die koninkryk van God binnekom. Die kerk is dus die gemeenskap waarbinne holistiese heling kan plaasvind deur middel van lering en prediking van God se woord. Koinonia, diakonia en gebed speel ook in dié verband 'n rol. Mense watleef met MIV & VIGS moet as integraal in die gemeenskap van gelowiges gesien word. Hulle is geregtig op sorg. Hulle moet spiritueel, emosioneel, relasioneel en fisiek versorg word. Hulle kan 'n rol speel in die welsyn van die kerk en deel ook in die charisma van die Gees. Die navorsing stel voor dat kerkleiers in Khayalitsha saam hande moet vat in die stryd teen MIV & VIGS. Die kerk moet bewus wees van mislukte pogings in die verlede. Die kerk benodig 'n paradigma skuif ten opsigte van bedieningsbenaderings. In die lig van die sending van Christus moet die Bybel nie geïnterpreteer word om te stigmatiseer nie, maar om mense te versorg en kerkleiers te motiveer om toepaslike strategieë te ontwikkel om mense wat ly pastoraal te hanteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71661
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