oa SAHARA : Journal of Social Aspects of HIV / AIDS Research Alliance - Culture and African contexts of HIV / AIDS prevention, care and support : original article



Culture plays a vital role in determining the level of health of the individual, the family and the community. This is particularly relevant in the context of Africa, where the values of extended family and community significantly influence the behaviour of the individual. The behaviour of the individual in relation to family and community is one major cultural factor that has implications for sexual behaviour and HIV / AIDS prevention and control efforts. As the impact of HIV / AIDS in Africa remains unabated, a culture-centered approach to prevention, care and support is increasingly recognised as a critical strategy. In this article PEN-3, a model developed to centralise culture in health promotion interventions, is presented as a framework to be used in HIV / AIDS prevention, care and support in Africa. The three domains of the PEN-3 model incorporate specific constructs: relationships and expectations, cultural empowerment, and cultural identity. The cultural empowerment and relationships and expectations domains are 'assessment / appraisal' domains used for cultural assessment. Community identity is the 'application / transformation' domain that helps the public health practitioner assist the community to identify the point of entry of the intervention. In this paper the authors describe PEN-3 and then present examples of how the assessment / appraisal domains can be utilised to frame HIV / AIDS-related concerns in the context of Africa.


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