An insight into the experiences of educators living with HIV/AIDS in the context of schooling and beyond.
Author(s)Appalsamy, Indrashnee Devi.
AIDS (Disease)--Social aspects--South Africa.
HIV infections--Social aspects--South Africa.
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AbstractThesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.
South Africa has a severe HIV/AIDS epidemic and the majority of the people infected are
in the economically active age group. The education sector is particularly affected by
HIV/AIDS because both the demand for and supply of educators are affected. Women
make up a great majority of the teaching fraternity and their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS will be discussed. The focus of this study is on educators living with HIV and AIDS in the province of
Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa. Educators are perceived as ‘icons of morality’ hence
their difficulty in disclosing their HIV status. This study offers an insight into the lives of
the educators in this study, and explores how educators managed their lives and the
disease on a daily basis at home and in particular at school. The participants for this study were obtained through convenience sampling given the sensitive nature of the study. Through the use of a life-story approach, all five participants, (current and previous) are
educators and were interviewed over a period of time. Focus group discussions were also
done in selected areas with school management teams (SMTs), to ascertain attitudes
towards and support for educators living with HIV.
During these many interviews with my research participants, I listened to their life
experiences, felt their grief and trauma, and really understood their feelings of
hopelessness. During these interactions, I was able to gather first hand information on the plight of educators living with HIV and AIDS, their voices spoke of their psychological emotions, and this confirmed that the general public and more especially
the school fraternity needed to be educated about the disease, in order to dispel the myths
and stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. The grounded theory approach was used to
analyse the data collected. Apart from the analysis of data, the life story interview of
each participant is included in this thesis. The lack of support and the secrecy that has
become imperative on issues around HIV and AIDS has brought about un-savory labels like ‘us’ and ‘them.’ The data also emphasized the importance of schools and the school
community to work together in order to manage HIV and AIDS. The adherence and effectiveness of school policies concerning HIV and AIDS in terms of the constitution are also discussed.
In conclusion the voices in this thesis have highlighted the importance of HIV/AIDS empowerment and support, individual empowerment equals the antithesis of vulnerability. HIV/AIDS can be looked upon as a serious chronic ailment which can be
handled with medication and a safe healthy lifestyle, with the express hope of keeping our educators in the classroom in a good state of health for longer.