- My brother’s keeper?
- Care, support and HIV support groups in Nairobi, Kenya
- Award date
- 4 October 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
HIV Support Groups are a multi-faced phenomenon in Kenya’s HIV mitigation landscape. The aim of this study was to examine the significance of HIV in the transformation of care and social support systems, and, additionally, the contribution of HIV support groups in the care and support of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Nairobi County over the past three decades. Specifically, the study examined the emergence, evolution, dynamics, specificities and implications of HIV support groups. This thesis explores the relationships between individuals and the HIV support group structure. It explores how social relations are created, shaped and redefined vis-à-vis care and support. It draws on various data collected using ethnography techniques. The study shows that HIV support group space is an arena of many players where lives of PLHIV are remade and closely scrutinized. HIV support groups are spaces where the interests of PLHIV meet with those of development partners/ biomedical interventions. I argue using various ever-changing logics of care and support that these groups are not a simple replacement of the traditional care and support system – they are psychological, socio-reintegrating, hope-propelling, stigma-fighting spaces that also provide emotional healing, love, acceptability, appreciation and respect. I also argue that while support groups present opportunities, they, as well present disillusionments. The study concludes that in spite of the fluid state and shortcomings of the groups, they are life-changing initiatives and provide a foundation for coping with HIV, and thus instrumental in HIV interventions.
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