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Socio-Cultural Identities, Perceptions of Sexuality/Sexual Behavior and Cultural Contexts as Determinants of HIV and AIDS Prevalence in Southern Africa

Publication year: 
2012
Author (s): 
Uwah, Chijioke; Wright, Susan
Publication details: 
South Africa, Scientific Research, 2012
Publication in: 
World Journal of AIDS, 2012, 2, pp. 17-23
Abstract:

This paper attempts to examine the connection between one’s socio cultural setting and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Often, local communities form the contexts within which people negotiate their social and sexual lives and identities. These ommunities also play a key role in enabling or restraining people from taking control over their health. The pa-per will try to demonstrate through specific examples that in African societies, sexual behavior is a product of one’s socio-cultural environment and structural contexts and not the cognitive properties of the individual. The article draws from the qualitative study (Focus group sessions, individual interviews) conducted in three high schools in the Boland area of the Western Cape with about 18 learners, 3 Life skills teachers, 3 Performer-Educators on the efficacy of the HIV/AIDS intervention by The Centre for HIV/AIDS Management theatre group based at the University of Stellen-bosch. The aim of the study was to ascertain the cultural content of their campaign model as well as their knowledge of the determinants of sex and sexuality of their target areas. Based on the findings of this study, I argue that theatre will achieve greater success in its campaign against HIV/AIDS in South Africa if the designers of the campaign models adopt a more participatory approach, make indigenous culture central to the design of their intervention model and pay closer attention to what Campbell refers to as “community level of analysis” which simply put implies a greater under-standing of the target audiences local communities and its determinants of sex and sexuality.