Exploring the role of cognitive and structural social capital in the declining trends of HIV/AIDS in the Kagera region of Tanzania: A grounded theory study
2011 (English)In: African Journal of AIDS Research, ISSN 1608-5906, E-ISSN 1727-9445, Vol. 10, no 1, 1-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The article presents a synthesis of data from three village case studies focusing on how structural and cognitivesocial capital may have influenced the progression of the HIV epidemic in the Kagera region of Tanzania. Groundedtheory was used to develop a theoretical model describing the possible links between structural and cognitivesocial capital and the impact on sexual health behaviours. Focus group discussions and key informant interviewswere carried out to represent the range of experiences of existing social capital. Both structural and cognitive socialcapital were active avenues for community members to come together, empower each other, and develop norms,values, trust and reciprocal relations. This empowerment created an enabling environment in which members couldadopt protective behaviours against HIV infection. On the one hand, we observed that involvement in formal andinformal organisations resulted in a reduction of numbers of sexual partners, led people to demand abstinencefrom sexual relations until marriage, caused fewer opportunities for casual sex, and gave individuals the agency todemand the use of condoms. On the other hand, strict membership rules and regulations excluded some members,particularly excessive alcohol drinkers and debtors, from becoming members of the social groups, which increasedtheir vulnerability in terms of exposure to HIV. Social gatherings (especially those organised during the night) werealso found to increase youths’ risk of HIV infection through instances of unsafe sex. We conclude that even thoughsocial capital may at times have negative effects on individuals’ HIV-prevention efforts, this study provides initialevidence that social capital is largely protective through empowering vulnerable groups such as women and thepoor to protect against HIV infection and by promoting protective sexual behaviours.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Grahamstown, South Africa: NISC , 2011. Vol. 10, no 1, 1-13 p.
Africa, behaviour change, community empowerment, health behaviour, HIV/AIDS, sexual behaviour
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-48721DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2011.575543OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-48721DiVA: diva2:451957