Older adults who believe in ritualized ancestral protection from disease have more negative attitudes toward condom use, which “could, therefore, be construed as a risk factor in HIV/AIDS prevention among older participants,” found researchers led by Dr Christine Liddell, of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.
“Since older participants were between 35 and 45 years old, most were probably sexually active, rendering this a noteworthy risk,” the authors added.
The 407 study participants live in a remote, impoverished rural area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, a region extending from the borders with Swaziland and Mozambique to the Eastern Cape in the south.
Participants, who fell into one of two age groups, were given questionnaires designed to measure and correlate AIDS-prevention attitudes to beliefs about ancestral protection and illness. The younger group (ages 18 to 24) showed more positive attitudes to AIDS precautions, with no significant correlations between those attitudes and traditional beliefs still held in their communities.
The study appears in the current online issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
To their surprise, Liddell and colleagues found that strong belief in traditional explanations of illness among the older participants was associated with more positive attitudes toward condom use.
“One possibility is that condoms fit harmoniously with traditional views of infectious substances, and how these can be avoided,” the researchers suggest. “A variety of protective charms and amulets can be worn as a means of warding off their harmful effects, and condoms may fit well with the concept of warding off contamination by polluted substances.”
In 2003, an estimated 38 percent of pregnant women in KwaZulu-Natal were HIV- positive, as were 14.1 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds. Per capita income is less than half the South African average.
The study “points to a major problem,” said Thomas Coates, Ph.D., director of the global infectious disease program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Accurate information about how to prevent transmission or acquisition is lacking, especially among older individuals. Thus, there should be little wonder that the HIV epidemic is out of control, especially in places like KwaZulu-Natal.”
In KwaZulu-Natal, as in much of traditional, tribal Africa, sexually transmitted diseases, premature death and epidemics are attributed to witchcraft and sorcery. According to study background information, it is believed that “an individual’s ancestors accord protection from disease and other misfortunes, provided the individual observes a variety of customs and rituals.”
"It is heartening, in this study, that younger people had more accurate information, and that traditional beliefs did not interfere with their understanding of the modes of HIV prevention," said Coates.
As for future studies: “When trying to understand any community or group of individuals, it will be essential to realize that any such gathering has texture, and that a variety of understandings and beliefs coexist and any attempt to provide education or behavior change will have to respect this variety," Coates said.
David Young | alfa
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy