Resilience and Hope and Stigmatisation of AIDS Victims

Flip Buys

One of the most challenging issues in dealing with HIV/AIDS is breaking through the stigmas surrounding the disease. This article wants to contribute to the present discussion by investigating the need to strengthen resilient communities where large numbers of people are infected with and affected by the HIV pandemic. The relationship between shame and guilt and witchcraft and HIV/AIDS stigmatization will be explored with specific reference to a rural community in South Africa. This will be done by looking at key features of the African worldview and culture and predominant witchcraft beliefs and how it manifests in community attitudes towards PLWA. The influence of prevailing beliefs in witchcraft and the way it aggravates to the experience of shame and suffering of  stigmatization by people infected and affected by HIV will also be highlighted. Approaches to Christian HIV/AIDS counselling and intervention has to be contextualised to be culturally sensitive and relevant. At the same time a Christian approach to HIV/AIDS intervention may be enriched and become more holistic in unveiling the aspects of the Christian Gospel dealing with God’s merciful covering of the shame of his children and Christ having triumphed over and disarmed all spiritual powers and authorities.