chapter  17
20 Pages

Theoretical and methodological characteristics of scholarly work on HIV in community psychology

The prevalence and far reaching global impacts of HIV have long been noted. According to recent fi gures, 34 million adults and children were living with HIV worldwide at the end of 2011 (UNAIDS 2012 ). Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region most adversely affected by the epidemic, with infection rates being highest in South Africa (UNAIDS 2012 ). In 2011, the number of adults or children living with HIV in South Africa reached 23.5 million or 69% of the global total (UNAIDS 2012 ). The severity of the HIV pandemic poses many challenges and has many implications for multiple levels of society. Visser ( 2007 ) posits that HIV infl uences nearly every facet of communities, from individual and family life, the workforce, welfare agencies and healthcare, to the basic makeup of communities. Gilbert and Walker ( 2002 ) elaborate on the impacts of HIV, highlighting the large number of orphaned children, the strain placed on healthcare services and the amount of suffering and stigmatisation faced by those infected. As such, the HIV epidemic has hugely disruptive economic, social and political effects on communities. The persistently high prevalence of HIV in South Africa and within the global context, as well as its devastating effects within communities, fi rmly positions HIV as a psychosocial problem that warrants attention by the psychological community. As such, HIV remains an important concern universally, but especially for South African communities.