Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


Despite numerous national prevention efforts, South Africa remains at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The burden of the epidemic is extremely heterogeneous, with province, race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status serving as key variables in determining HIV prevalence rates. Black African women are disproportionately affected by the epidemic, with those between the ages of 20 and 34 having an HIV prevalence rate of 31.6%, the highest in the country (Shisana et al., 2014). The purpose of this study was to engage with black African women about the challenges they believe women face in protecting themselves against HIV, and potential solutions. Participants were recruited from Masxha, Cato Manor, located in KwaZulu-Natal. Interviews were conducted in order to allow participants to describe their opinions on the topic. This study was grounded in the culture-centered approach (CCA), which is a health communication model that emphasizes the importance of having members from a community at the center of defining important problems and developing solutions. The prevention challenges and solutions identified by the women were compared with current prevention programs, policy, and existing research. While some commonalities existed, it is clear that the challenges and solutions expressed by participants were not fully addressed. Ultimately, this study showed that there is a great need for more community engagement in the battle against HIV.


African Studies | Health Policy | Immune System Diseases | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Virus Diseases | Women's Health


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