The Panacea and Perfidy of Culture As A Platform of Behaviour Change with Examples from Botswana and South Africa
AbstractThe aim and of this article is to discuss the panacea and perfidy of cultures as a platform of positive behaviour change; as well as a deterrent to achieving HIV/AIDS/STI prevention objectives. Cultures can be a panacea through: exploiting rites of passage; using music, poetry and drama; using traditional leadership in the HIV/AIDS dissemination; strengthening cultural mores and taboos on sex; and exploiting languages to mainstream HIV/AIDS messages. Cultures can also be perfidious through: using it to oppress female gender empowerment; strengthening beliefs in unscientific and untested medical therapies; discouraging the use of condom; condoning wife inheritance; strengthening religions that are anti-prevention; giving traditional medical practitioners a platform to hide and give misleading HIV/AIDS messages; and condoning multiple and concurrent partnership (MCP). The article recommends the following: policy makers, behavioural change architects to take advantage of the immense social capital embedded in cultures and use it as a thrust for positive behavioural change; staging immense advocacy and lobbying mechanism to resuscitate positive prevention friendly aspects of cultures; and discarding aspects of cultures that are prevention unfriendly; and endeavour to make them human rights compliant.
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