Title

Re-establishing family structures affected by HIV/AIDS : is there hope? Zimbabwe case study

Publication Date

1-1-2003

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala

Abstract

This paper studies how family structures are affected by HIV/AIDS in rural and urban Zimbabwe, and the devastation HIV/AIDS is having on family structures, especially as children and elderly people are left taking care of each other when the adult generation, aged 15-49 years old, disappears. Greater numbers of extended families absorb orphans into the household, creating economic, social and psychosocial hardships for the family unit. Reluctance to place orphans in institutions continues because of isolating them from their social network, traditions and culture. The author describes the importance of keeping families intact, as mutually supportive units, and therefore creating resilience among them to the impacts of the epidemic is essential. It explores the role of cultural traditions in the changing environment because of HIV/AIDS, with particular reference to preparing and writing wills to secure inheritance. Strategies are required to eliminate the ambiguity surrounding HIV transmission due to unsafe medical procedures, increase the availability of antiretroviral therapy at affordable costs, continued HIV/AIDS awareness and education to bring about behaviour change, and measures to address and reduce the stigma currently attached to HIV in Zimbabwe. The paper provides recommendations for donors, governments, international, national and faith-based organisations to address re-stabilising family structures in Zimbabwe.

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