Sunday, November 30, 2008

HIV/AIDS and Indigenous People in Africa: A Continuing Health Problem

This post is in support of World Aids Day - December 1, 2008.

In the latest issue of Practicing Anthropology, Gisele Maynard-Tucker and Alexander Rodlach bring together panel papers focusing on HIV/AIDS in Africa, which were presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology. These papers discuss various topics related to HIV/AIDS in different African countries: the association between gender and HIV infections; the consequences for the epidemic of the shortage of health workers; the importance of ethical considerations in developing protocols for HIV/AIDS interventions; local interpretations of, and reactions to, methods preventing new HIV infections; and the impact of resource insecurities on HIV/AIDS programs.
AIDS/HIV in Africa
HIV/AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s, and since that time substantial progress has been made regarding understanding the disease. For example, there has been increasing awareness of social and cultural patterns that either exacerbate or diminish the epidemic. Likewise, researchers have sought strategies for preventing new HIV infections and developed treatment and care programs for those suffering from AIDS, despite shortages of funding for such programs. Similarly, great efforts have been made to prevent new infections, to treat those already infected, and to support those affected by AIDS. Nevertheless, as Gisele and Alexander point out, the high number of individuals becoming infected annually, the costs preventing access to antiretroviral drugs for many, along with the difficulty of creating culturally appropriate AIDS programs mitigates against our complacency.

Contained within this edited edition, Susan Fields Mead concludes that despite the progress seen in the post-industrialized world, HIV continues to threaten the viability of indigenous populations in other parts of the world. For the indigenous populations along the Ghana-Togo border, its threat is felt most acutely by the indigenous women who put their health at risk to achieve a certain level of economic and social security. Susan argues that many indigenous women assume protection from HIV through marriage and other purportedly monogamous relationships, but who then consequently engage in unprotected sex and potentially become infected. The growing prevalence of this virus among indigenous women in the border communities requires special attention from the government, traditional leaders, and aid organizations.
Indigenous People in Africa with HIV/AIDS
Likewise, Joyce V. Millen notes that anthropologists are well equipped to elicit explanatory models and local interpretations that can be used to work collaboratively with indigenous African colleagues who seek research assistance in exploring the relative effectiveness of new policies aimed to train and retain health workers.

Sharon Watson Lai, Regina Mpemi, Nancy Romero-Daza, David Himmelgreen, and Ipolto Okello-Uma argue that in order to deal with the mismatch in addressing western human subjects’ protection, donor priorities and community concerns, a space must be created in the grants and projects section of the field that includes a collaborative process. Collaborative planning does not lend itself easily to institutional budgets and timelines, but it is essential for the success of prevention programs. In doing so, they note that engaging with the local indigenous communities in the formulation of research in interventions, the principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice can be incorporated.

Finally, Gisele Maynard-Tucker rightly argues that governments need to establish a stabilization fund by imposing specific health taxes on international companies exploiting local indigenous resources. For instance, she argues that companies could be asked to pay an HIV/AIDS Tax on income earned in a country, and that those funds would then be levied to pay for upgrading health care systems and in providing prevention, treatment, and care for indigenous AIDS patients.

Together, the papers presented in the Practicing Anthropology issue contribute to strengthening prevention and care efforts of indigenous peoples in Africa effected by HIV/AIDS.

Related Indigenous People's Issues by Keywords

Use the Search Function at the Top to Find More Articles, Fellowships, Conferences, Indigenous Issues, Book Reviews, and Resources

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contribute to Indigenous People's Issues Today

Do you have a resource on indigenous peoples that you would like to share? Indigenous People's Issues is always looking for great new information, news, articles, book reviews, movies, stories, or resources.

Please send it along and we will do a feature. Email it to the Editor, Peter N. Jones: pnj "at"

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Privacy Policy for Indigenous Peoples Issues Today (

The privacy of our visitors to Indigenous Peoples Issues Today is important to us.

At Indigenous Peoples Issues Today, we recognize that privacy of your personal information is important. Here is information on what types of personal information we receive and collect when you use visit Indigenous Peoples Issues Today, and how we safeguard your information. We never sell your personal information to third parties.

Log Files

As with most other websites, we collect and use the data contained in log files. The information in the log files include your IP (internet protocol) address, your ISP (internet service provider, such as AOL or Shaw Cable), the browser you used to visit our site (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox), the time you visited our site and which pages you visited throughout our site.

Cookies and Web Beacons

We do use cookies to store information, such as your personal preferences when you visit our site. This could include only showing you a pop-up once in your visit, or the ability to login to some of our features, such as forums.

We also use third party advertisements on Indigenous Peoples Issues Today to support our site. Some of these advertisers may use technology such as cookies and web beacons when they advertise on our site, which will also send these advertisers (such as Google through the Google AdSense program) information including your IP address, your ISP, the browser you used to visit our site, and in some cases, whether you have Flash installed. This is generally used for geotargeting purposes (showing New York real estate ads to someone in New York, for example) or showing certain ads based on specific sites visited (such as showing cooking ads to someone who frequents cooking sites). Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on this site. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to users based on their visit to sites on the Internet. Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

You can chose to disable or selectively turn off our cookies or third-party cookies in your browser settings, or by managing preferences in programs such as Norton Internet Security. However, this can affect how you are able to interact with our site as well as other websites. This could include the inability to login to services or programs, such as logging into forums or accounts.

Thank you for understanding and supporting Indigenous Peoples Issues Today. We understand that some viewers may be concerned that ads are sometimes served for companies that negatively depict indigenous peoples and their cultures. We understand this concern. However, there are many legitimate companies that utilize Google Adwords and other programs to attract visitors. Currently, we have no way of deciphering between the two - we leave it up to the viewer to decide whether the companies serving ads are honest or not.