Evaluating traditional healers knowledge and practices related to HIV testing and treatment in South Africa

George, Gavin and Chitindingu, Ethel and Gow, Jeff (2013) Evaluating traditional healers knowledge and practices related to HIV testing and treatment in South Africa. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 13 (1). pp. 1-7.

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Background: In a context of inadequate human resources for health, this study investigated whether traditional healers have the knowledge and skill base which could be utilised to assist in the scaling up of HIV prevention and
treatment services in South Africa.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional research design a total of 186 traditional healers from the Northern Cape province were interviewed. Responses on the following topics were obtained: socio-demographic characteristics; HIV training, experience and practices; and knowledge of HIV transmission, prevention and symptoms. Descriptive
statistics and chi square tests were used to analyse the responses.
Results: Traditional healers' knowledge of HIV and AIDS was not as high as expected. Less than 50% of both trained and untrained traditional healers would treat a person they suspected of being HIV positive. However, a total of 167 (89%) respondents agreed using a condom can prevent HIV and a majority of respondents also agreed that having one sexual partner (127, 68.8%) and abstaining from sex can prevent HIV (145, 78.8%). Knowledge of treatment practices was better with statistically significant results being obtained.
Conclusion: The results indicate that traditional healers could be used for prevention as well as referring HIV
positive individuals for treatment. Traditional healers were enthusiastic about the possibility of collaborating with bio-medical practitioners in the prevention and care of HIV and AIDS patients. This is significant considering they already service the health needs of a large percentage of the South African population. However, further
development of training programmes and materials for them on HIV and AIDS related issues would seem necessary.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 George et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Article 45
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2013 22:54
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2014 22:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: traditional healers; HIV; AIDS; HIV knowledge; South Africa
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/1472-698X-13-45
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/24217

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