Traditional Healers in South Africa Trained to Encourage People to Get Tested for HIV
March 10, 2006
A group of traditional healers in South Africa is being trained to encourage people to get tested for HIV, BBC News reports. Traditional healers act as counselors and supply traditional medicine to four out of five South Africans, according to BBC News. The traditional healers, known as sangomas, attended a six-week training workshop at Cape Town's Tygerberg Hospital. The workshop aims to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and "break down the barriers of distrust" between traditional healers and Western medical systems, Monica Essa, a pediatrician at Tygerberg Hospital, said. According to Essa, people have been reluctant to get tested for HIV because testing typically has been conducted at Western-based medical facilities, which "makes it even more foreign to the predominantly black population" in the country. People also fear the "enormous" stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, Essa added (BBC News, 3/8).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.