HIV in (and out of) the clinic: biomedicine, traditional medicine and spiritual healing in Harare

O'Brien, Stephen and Broom, Alex (2014) HIV in (and out of) the clinic: biomedicine, traditional medicine and spiritual healing in Harare. Sahara-J, 11 1: 94-104. doi:10.1080/17290376.2014.938102

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Author O'Brien, Stephen
Broom, Alex
Title HIV in (and out of) the clinic: biomedicine, traditional medicine and spiritual healing in Harare
Journal name Sahara-J   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1729-0376
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/17290376.2014.938102
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 11
Issue 1
Start page 94
End page 104
Total pages 11
Place of publication Pretoria, South Africa
Publisher South African Medical Association
Language eng
Abstract Contemporary lived experiences of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are shaped by clinical and cultural encounters with illness. In sub-Saharan countries such as Zimbabwe, HIV is treated in very different ways in various therapeutic contexts including by biomedical experts, traditional medicine and faith healers. The co-existence of such expertise raises important questions around the potencies and limits of medicalisation and alternative healing practices in promoting HIV recovery. First, in this study, drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with 60 people from poor urban areas in Harare, we explore the experiences of people living with and affected by HIV. Specifically, we sought to document, interrogate and reflect on their perceptions and experiences of biomedicine in relation to traditional medicine and spiritual healing. Their accounts indicate that traditional medicine and spiritual beliefs continue to significantly influence the way in which HIV is understood, and the forms of help and care people seek. Second, we observe the dramatic and overwhelmingly beneficial impact of Antiretroviral Therapy and conclude through Zimbabwean's own stories that limitations around delivery and wider structural inequalities impede its potential. Lastly, we explore some practical implications of the biomedical clinic (and alternative healing practices) being understood as sites of ideological and expert contestation. This paper aimed to add to our knowledge of the relationships between traditional medicine and spiritual healing in connection with biomedicine and how this may influence HIV treatment and prevention.
Keyword Antiretroviral therapy
Qualitative sociology
Spiritual healing
Traditional medicine
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
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Created: Tue, 21 Oct 2014, 11:09:17 EST by System User on behalf of School of Social Science