Despite of the extensive intervention to contain the HIV/AIDS pandemic in southern Africa, this region still remain the hot spot of the disease world-wide. In Botswana a prevalence rate for adults is estimated at 24,6% (UNAIDS 2009). This is country was first to launch a comprehensive antiretroviral medication program in sub-saharan Africa. The extent to which the national medication program provides life-long medication to a large proportion of the population is unique in its kind.
This research project aims assessing and understanding what kind of social determinants and process influence the life-long therapy. The menace of HIV/AIDS in Botswana has been changing since the introduction of antiretroviral (ARV) medication. Titled as the greatest challenge for sub-saharan Africa, the disease has now become manageable, at least in terms of medication. One of the most crucial factors for the success of the ARV-program in the regular medication intake (adherence). Yet, the medication regime has to be incorporated into the daily life of the people infected and affected of HIV/AIDS and also be socially accepted. By this means adherence is directly connected to social resilience. Our project aims at identifying the conditions that constitute ”a culture of resilience”. We do this through a theoretical perspective on the basis of own empirical findings. The research is divided into two different threads: First, we analyze cultures of adherence and resilience. Second, with a metatheoretical approach, we question different epistemologies on their value for geographic development studies in the field of health research.
Our main research questions are:
How has the risk perception of HIV/AIDS changed since the introduction of the new ARV-program?
What are the conditions that allow people to integrate the medication intake into their daily lives? What are the therapeutical spaces of risk and how are the discussed, constrained and perceived?
What measures are being developed in the context of prevention, new infection and therapy drop-outs? How are these concepts and conventions being accepted?
What theoretical concepts help to adequately describe the complex realities in the health sector?
How can the diverse interactions between different health related factors be understood? Different types of treatment (modern medicine, traditional medicine, religious healing), as well as patient’s experience, practical restrictions and political action have an influence on the dynamics in the health sector.