The role of traditional healers in the fight against HIV/AIDS : the case study of Tembisa Township, South Africa.
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South Africa has a high HIV/AIDS prevalence. Due to the unavailability of antiretroviral drugs and South African’s trust in traditional healers for health problems, traditional healers are involved in treating HIV/AIDS. This dissertation outlines traditional healers’ role in HIV/AIDS in Tembisa, a township situated in the East Rand section of Johannesburg. People living with HIV/AIDS, traditional healers and health care workers were interviewed. The dissertation also confirms the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Tembisa.. According to the dissertation, a reasonable highest number of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAS) 8 out of 10 consulted Traditional healers to seek treatment of HIV/AIDS Opportunistic infections, although three out of eight indicated that consulting traditional healers was not necessarily their own choice. Two PLWAS do not believe in traditional healers and have never consulted them. Five PLWAS’s view was that Traditional healers can treat opportunistic infections effectively and they indicated their own health bear evidence to such claims. The study had shown that, although traditional healers have shown good rapport with their clients, and have earned positive respect due to their involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in their communities, there are also challenges with regards to their work that calls for urgent attention. For an example, a highest number of Traditional healers did misrepresent diseases related to sexual intercourse, and also they could not recognize the symptoms of HIV/AIDS. They also hardly gave all biomedical perspective of transmission of HIV/AIDS without being probed. Both the group that believed in traditional healers and those that do not, as well as Biomedicine indicated that using traditional healers alone without biomedicine is not a realistic option.due to their training that is not homogenous and their profession that is rarely regulated. All the participants interviewed were in support of the strong collaboration between traditional healers and Biomedicine.