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LIFE WITH HIV: ‘STIGMA’ AND HOPE IN MALAWI'S ERA OF ARVS

Abstract
ABSTRACT

Anti-retroviral therapies have radically transformed the HIV epidemic in rural southern Malawi and this article explores the ways in which women are learning to live with the virus in a matrilineal setting. Through discussion of the experiences of HIV-positive women, I argue that stigma can only be understood through an appreciation of the pre-existing, and often complicated, social relations into which new information about a person is folded. The women's narratives reveal a tentative hope for the future, which is replicated in my own optimism that the anthropology of HIV is undergoing a parallel reorientation towards the study of life with HIV, rather than death by AIDS.

RESUMÉ

Les thérapies antirétrovirales ont transformé l’épidémie de VIH de manière radicale dans la région rurale du sud du Malawi, et cet article examine la manière dont les femmes apprennent à vivre avec le virus dans un contexte matrilinéaire. En relatant les expériences de femmes séropositives, l'auteur affirme que la seule manière de comprendre la réprobation dont elles sont l'objet est d'apprécier les relations sociales préexistantes et souvent compliquées dans lesquelles s'intègrent les nouvelles informations concernant une personne. Ces récits de femmes révèlent un début d'espoir pour l'avenir que l'on retrouve dans l'optimisme que nourrit l'auteur de voir l'anthropologie du VIH marquer une réorientation parallèle vers l’étude du vivre avec le VIH, plutôt que du mourir du SIDA.

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