The role of social capital in HIV prevention: experiences from the Kagera region of Tanzania
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The role of social capital for promoting health has been extensively studied in recent years but there are few attempts to investigate the possible influence of social capital on HIV prevention,particularly in developing countries. The overall aims of this thesis are to investigate the links between social capital and HIV infection and to contribute to the theoretical framework of the role of social capital for HIV prevention.
Key informant interviews with leaders of organizations, networks, social groups and communities and focus group discussions with members and non-members of the social groups and networks were conducted to map out and characterize various forms of social capital that may influenceHIV prevention. A quantitative community survey was carried out in three case communities toestimate the influence of social capital on HIV risk behaviors. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to estimate the HIV prevalence in the urban district representing a high HIV prevalence zone to determine the association between social capital and HIV infection.
In early 1990’s many of the social groups in Kagera region were formed because of poverty and many AIDS related deaths. This formation of groups enhanced people’s social and economic support to group members during bereavement and celebrations as well as provided loans that empowered members economically. The social groups also put in place strict rules of conduct, which helped to create new norms, values and trust, which influenced sexual health andthereby enhanced HIV prevention. Formal organizations worked together with social groups and facilitated networking and provided avenues for exchange of information including healtheducation on HIV/AIDS. Individuals who had access to high levels of structural and cognitive social capital were more likely to use condoms with their casual sex partners compared to individuals with access to low levels. Women with access to high levels of structural social capital were more likely to use condoms with casual sex partners compared to those with low levels. Individuals with access to low levels of structural social capital were less likely to be tested for HIV compared to those with access to high levels. However, there was no association between access to cognitive social capital and being tested for HIV. Individuals who had access to low levels of both structural and cognitive social capital were more likely to be HIV positive compared to individuals who had access to high levels with a similar pattern among men and women.
This thesis indicates that social capital in its structural and cognitive forms is protective to HIV infection and has played an important role in the observed decline in HIV trends in the Kagera region. Structural and cognitive social capital has enabled community members to decrease number of sexual partners, delay sexual debut for the young generation, reduce opportunities for casual sex and empower community members to demand or use condoms. It is recommended that policy makers and programme managers consider involving grassroots’ social groups and networks in the design and delivery of interventions strategies to reduce HIV transmission.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå university , 2011. , 61 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1453
Structural social capital, cognitive social capital, HIV risk behaviors, HIV infection, HIV prevention
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject Public health
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-49319ISBN: 978-91-7459-307-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-49319DiVA: diva2:454854
2011-11-25, Sal 135, Allmänmedicin, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Ingång X5, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Haglund, Bo, Professor
Nyström, Lennarth, UniversitetslektorEmmelin, Maria, ProfessorKillewo, Japhet, Professor
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