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Socio-cultural factors influencing the prevalence, care and support inHIV/AIDS among the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria

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This paper is a part of a bigger ethnographic study conducted in two states from the Yoruba society of the Southwestern Nigeria to examine the social and cultural factors influencing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and care and support systems in those states. This is in recognition of the need to arrest the increasing rate of the spread of the epidemic and the desire to create better care for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs) in those states. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods using key-informant interviews, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and case-study analyses. The study engaged in intensive fieldwork, which lasted for 24 months. The study examined in historical perspective, the condition of health facilities in the study area before the outbreak of HIV/AIDS and how such facilities have coped with HIV/AIDS. The study revealed that the socio-cultural condition of the society is not conducive to fighting HIV/AIDS. Poverty, low literacy capacity, the urbanization process, inadequate health care facilities, the location of tertiary institutions, and certain contesting issues in HIV/AIDS were found to account for the continued prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the study-area. In addition to the above, is the neglect of rural communities in HIV/AIDS programmes, despite the fact that PLWAs often return to their rural communities after contracting HIV/AIDS in their urban residence. HIV/AIDS is seen as a disease associated with human development, hence, action against the disease should involve the overhauling of the entire development process in the community studied. African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 14 (1-2) 2007: pp. 61-69

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