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Societal beliefs, scientific technologies and HIV/AIDS in Africa: facing the challenge of integrating local communities in Kenya and Zimbabwe
International Journal of Technology Management & Sustainable Development, Vol 8, Issue 3 8 (3)
Of the many challenges that Africa is facing, the HIV/AIDS pandemic ranks amongst the most threatening. This article draws attention to local community settings and focuses on village set-ups, probing into the nature of the approaches to combat the pandemic. Given the issues surrounding the spread of the virus, including, for example, stigmatisation/discrimination, sexuality, modes of transmission, cultural beliefs and practices, trauma, health-care services, aid organisations as well as governance issues, we raise questions that cut across the societal belief terrains on the one hand, and scientific/technological advancements on the other. The article explores questions relating to: the extent to which cultural practices are part of the unbreakable barriers in the effort to combat the pandemic; the extent to which cultural contexts of local communities are understood or misunderstood; how focus on participatory approaches and not diagnostic measures can help; and how best a sustainable integration of scientific and social aspects can be achieved in the search for solutions. To address these and other related questions, the argument will be informed by examples from Kenya and Zimbabwe, looking at how particular ‘scientific’ and ‘local’ communities have strived to integrate their efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.