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J Natl Med Assoc. Jun 2004; 96(6): 822–825.
PMCID: PMC2568353

Western medicine and traditional healers: partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS.


Prevention and control programs for HIV/AIDS have had limited success, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprising, most residents see traditional healers as their only option to meet their healthcare needs. Some patients refuse surgery or other medical treatment unless their traditional healer sanctions the treatment first. Formally trained doctors have finally begun to consider traditional healers as potential allies in the battle to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by recognizing that the longstanding trust and credibility of these healers in the black communities can facilitate change in sexual behavior. Innovative and effective approaches, including utilization of traditional healers, can play a vital role in Africa's AIDS prevention and control programs.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Troskie TR. The importance of traditional midwives in the delivery of health care in the Republic of South Africa. Curationis. 1997 Mar;20(1):15–20. [PubMed]
  • Baleta A. South Africa to bring traditional healers into mainstream medicine. Lancet. 1998 Aug 15;352(9127):554–554. [PubMed]
  • Green EC, Zokwe B, Dupree JD. The experience of an AIDS prevention program focused on South African traditional healers. Soc Sci Med. 1995 Feb;40(4):503–515. [PubMed]

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