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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dangerous AIDS myths or preconceived perceptions? A critical study of the meaning and impact of myths about HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Author:Sivelš, Jonas
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
popular beliefs
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2016.1246225
Abstract:This article considers how and to what extent so-called 'AIDS myth' encourage dangerous behaviour related to HIV/AIDS. Scholarly writing and media reports have identified a number of misconceptions about HIV/AIDS in the wake of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. They claim that AIDS myths - beliefs, misconceptions and legends - affect people's behaviour and are to blame for the increase in HIV infections. Observations made during ethnographic fieldwork among Xhosa people in two townships in Cape Town do not support the notion of a straightforward relationship between AIDS myths and people's behaviour. The relationship between knowledge of AIDS myths and acting upon this knowledge is more complex. References to AIDS myths involve far more than claims to truth or falsity - in other words, to belief. This article attempts to understand the meaning and impact of AIDS myths in South Africa, to question the seemingly widespread assumption that belief in them stimulates behaviours that spread HIV infection, and to begin to delineate the much wider range of uses to which AIDS myths are put when they arise in discussions of sexuality and HIV/AIDS in South African townships. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]