Superstition and Other Silliness: December 2005 Archives

December 1, 2005

World AIDS Day: Passing the blame

In many societies, AIDS preventions efforts are hampered by sheer supersition. In Zambia, fears of Satanism are effecting a testing and counselling project:

And Kanyama residents yesterday shunned the HIV/AIDS voluntary, counselling and testing (VCT) preliminary HIV/AIDS function, for fear that their blood samples would be used for Satanism purposes.

Kanyama Member of Parliament Henry Mtonga said HIV/AIDS counsellors had faced resistance from the people in the area following last Saturday's riots in which a church was accused of practising Satanism.

The Member of Parliament then went on to give credence to the rumour, contributing to the problem:

Mr Mtonga said it was important for people to distinguish between blood samples meant for VCT and those that were meant for alleged Satanism activities.

And in news media everywhere, there are stories of stigma and denial, placing the blame on witchcraft. Here's just one example, from a long article explaining how cultural traditions in one area have helped spread the virus:

There is a big number of number of people who do not want to go through VCT [voluntary counselling and testing centres], who do not utilise the antiretroviral programmes that are already in place in Nyanza. In fact, they do not want even to know what killed people, he said.

People continue interacting sexually with these women even after their husbands have died of HIV/AIDS, Olayo observed. Alternative explanations are given for every death. It is either a neighbour's witchcraft, or chira [a curse], or something else.

High HIV/AIDS death toll worries British envoy - Times of Zambia, 30th November 2005; KENYA: Cultural traditions fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS - IRIN Africa, 30th November 2005.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from December 2005.

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