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Soc Sci Med. 2004 Jul;59(2):285-97.

AIDS-talk in everyday life: the presence of HIV/AIDS in men's informal conversation in Southern Malawi.

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Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, 5-21 Tory Building, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2H4.


Malawi is one of the world's most AIDS-afflicted countries. In order to cope with the AIDS pandemic, we must know what the people most at risk think about it, how they evaluate their situation and that of their community, and what actions they would consider adopting to lower their risk. However, the main research methods in studying attitudes-surveys and questionnaires-have only a limited ability to capture what people think about AIDS. In order to get a more naturalistic perspective on attitudes towards AIDS from 1999 to 2001 six Malawian research assistants who lived in rural villages were asked to keep journals in which they wrote down information about all the conversations they participated in or witnessed in which the topic of AIDS surfaced in any way. The conversations ranged from graveside condolences following a funeral to stories told during men-only beer-drinking sessions, to women chatting on the bus. In this paper, I analyse these journals in order to see how men talk about AIDS in naturalistic settings, what they perceive as the impact of the AIDS epidemic, and how they understand AIDS risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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