Epicenter research project

ARV-therapy, Intimacy and Mistrust in South Africa

ARV-therapy, Intimacy and Mistrust in South Africa

This study explores how HIV-positive parents and their children manage anti-retroviral therapy within a township environment characterized by a sense of ‘stuckness’, compelled intimacy and mistrust. In South Africa, as elsewhere in the pandemic, speaking out about HIV has been brought forth as the good way to live positively, and through disclosure as an access criterion for enrolment in therapy people’s intimate relationships with others become the objects of attention and intervention. In other words, the spread of intimacy is appropriated as a strategy to make HIV less contagious. It is from this starting point that the study explores how intimacy is spread or avoided in the realm of everyday life, where intimacy is potentially evil and the unpredictability of others’ behavior is what you can expect and rely on. The study is based on eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork amongst families in Khayelitsha Township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Contact Researcher

Kathrin Houmøller

PhD student

etnokh@hum.au.dk