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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

aids stigma

African society, believing in the power of the spoken word to evoke memories of past tragedies, proscribes direct verbal references to calamities and tragedies that befall individuals, localities, and states. Yankah discusses an underlying element of avoidance or circumvention in discourses on AIDS, based on fear, superstition, or embarrassment about the AIDS stigma. Deadly diseases are distanced and depicted as exotic in folk constuctions, and so are the carriers.The emphasis on difference, or the conscious avoidance of characterizing carriers as sharing features with the speaker, is meant to legitimize intra-group behavior and depict the exoteric as deviation. Safer sex discourse is also informed by cultural anxieties about the open discussion of sexuality, symbolic meanings associated with condom use, and perceptions of how AIDS is transmitted. One important attitude in the risk discourse on AIDS is the denial of infection, or the conviction that one's affliction is anything but that particular dreaded disease. The avoidance discourse is specifically targeted at the connotations of promiscuity, prostitution, and moral deviance that AIDS conjures. In Africa, this is compounded by superstitious beliefs about illness in general, and the ascription of deadly diseases to supernatural causes. The essay is based on personal observations and interviews with HIV/AIDS patients and their relatives in Ghana.POWERD BY CDC

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