Original Research

Indigenous health beliefs, attitudes and practices among VhaVenda: A challenge to the promotion of HIV/AIDS prevention strategies

F.M. Mulaudzi
Curationis | Vol 30, No 3 | a1097 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v30i3.1097 | © 2007 F.M. Mulaudzi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2007 | Published: 28 September 2007

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F.M. Mulaudzi, North West University, South Africa

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Currently, the syndromic management of HIV/AIDS is based on a biomedical model that focuses on the ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, Condomise) model. The ABC model overlooks the issue of indigenous cultural practices, sexual behaviours, knowledge and attitudes of the society. A grounded theory study was used for the research. The population for the research on which this article is reporting, was selected from the Vhavenda ethnic group using purposive sampling. In-depth interviews were held at the participants’ own homes. The outcome of the study on which this article is reporting, may assist in identifying indigenous health beliefs, attitudes and practices that will assist in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The findings revealed that cultural practices, such as premarital counselling, polygamy and widow inheritance, are believed to be influential in making women more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The practice of abstinence, as emphasised at initiation schools, should be incorporated into current policies and preventative practices. The findings further demonstrate that policy-makers who formulated the HIV/AIDS strategy have limited knowledge of the health beliefs, attitudes and practices of the people they serve. They thus find it difficult to draw up promotion and prevention strategies that meet the needs of the community. It is therefore imperative that our health-care training curriculum be reviewed to make provision for the incorporation of sound and effective indigenous practices to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and to eliminate or refine practices that are harmful and detrimental to people’s health. The cultural practices that were proved reliable and effective will be recommended for integration into health education.


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