Investigating HIV and AIDS education in uMgungundlovu : perspectives of HIV positive people in a support group.
Since HIV and AIDS became a health problem in the world in the early '80s, education has been identified as one of the ways to control the spread of the virus, for the virus is mainly spread through specific risk behaviors. uMgungundlovu district ranks as one of the worst-affected areas in South Africa, with HIV prevalence figures of 40% and above over the past five years The study aimed to establish how people living with HIV acquired knowledge about the disease; to investigate how they responded to the knowledge acquired; and to identify factors that affect their implementation of the knowledge acquired in their daily lives. I hoped that this study would capture some of the realities that we live in, so that HIV education programme developers and implementers can start to grasp the factors that individual HIV positive persons experience, which can play a positive or negative role on how one uses the knowledge they acquire to improve their own health and also be able to protect the next person. The study was a micro qualitative research, with a feminist approach, drawing on both interpretive and critical paradigms. It focused on a particular group of people in a specific area. Through my personal reflections, the semi-structured in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and the review of other existing literature (published and unpublished), the study attempted to investigate perspectives of people infected with HIV on HIV and AIDS education. The study was conducted with consideration of the positions of women and men in the diverse South African cultures. The study findings showed how the intersection of gender, power and culture, the context of reception and implementation of knowledge, the individual‟s habitus and the multi-disciplinary support systems, impact on the reception, receptivity and implementation of HIV and AIDS education. The conclusion, recommendations and suggestions for future studies from the study are presented, positioning the person living with HIV at the centre of responses to slowing down the spread of HIV.