Changing the Course of AIDS: Peer Education in South Africa and Its Lessons for the Global Crisis

Changing the Course of AIDS: Peer Education in South Africa and Its Lessons for the Global Crisis

by David Dickinson
     
 

Changing the Course of AIDS is an in-depth evaluation of a new and exciting way to create the kind of much-needed behavioral change that could affect the course of the global health crisis of HIV/AIDS. This case study from the South African HIV/AIDS epidemic demonstrates that regular workers serving as peer educators can be as—or even

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Overview

Changing the Course of AIDS is an in-depth evaluation of a new and exciting way to create the kind of much-needed behavioral change that could affect the course of the global health crisis of HIV/AIDS. This case study from the South African HIV/AIDS epidemic demonstrates that regular workers serving as peer educators can be as—or even more—effective agents of behavioral change than experts who lecture about the facts and so-called appropriate health care behavior.

After spending six years researching the response of large South African companies to the epidemic that is decimating their workforce as well as South African communities, David Dickinson describes the promise of this grassroots intervention—workers educating one another in the workplace and community—and the limitations of traditional top-down strategies. Dickinson's book takes us right into the South African workplace to show how effective and yet enormously complex peer education really is. We see what it means when workers directly tackle the kinds of sexual, gender, religious, ethnic, and broader social and political taboos that make behavior change so difficult, particularly when that behavior involves sex and sexuality.

Dickinson's findings show that people who are not officially health care experts or even health care workers can be skilled and effective educators. In this book we see why peer education has so much to offer societies grappling with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and why those interested in changing behaviors to ameliorate other health problems like obesity, alcoholism, and substance abuse have so much to learn from the South African example.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Much has been written about the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease has left a devastating human toll. David Dickinson provides a poignant and moving account about people who are doing something to combat the spread of the HIV virus in their communities. Woven with intricate stories and quotes, this book is a must-read for any person working in the field of HIV and AIDS. Not only does it leave the reader with a sense of the strength and power of those serving as peer educators, it also demonstrates one community's heroic attempts to survive this disease by creatively using the resources they have at hand. This book is extraordinarily well written and stands as a testament to human creativity in the face of one of the greatest human tragedies of our era."—Jennifer J. Furin, Harvard Medical School and Director of Partners in Health, Lesotho

"This well-written book explores the use of workplace peer-education as a strategy to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In many South African companies employers face high levels of absenteeism while communities face deaths due to HIV/AIDS. In these companies, workers have volunteered to talk with one another about the previously unmentionable—sexual practices, gender relationships, religious beliefs, traditional healing practices—all of which shape the health crisis. As peer educators they take advantage of teachable moments where an individual slips out of the constructs of social order and becomes open to changing behavior. By showing us how this is done, David Dickinson describes and analyzes the potential of peer education in HIV prevention work not only in the workplace setting but also in many others."—William L. Holzemer, RN, PhD, FAAN, Dean and Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, College of Nursing

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801448317
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Series:
Culture and Politics of Health Care Work Series
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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