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First ISA Forum of Sociology, Barcelona, SPAIN September 5-8, 2008 How far has the conspiracy theory affected the perception and responses to HIV risk?

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Presentation on theme: "First ISA Forum of Sociology, Barcelona, SPAIN September 5-8, 2008 How far has the conspiracy theory affected the perception and responses to HIV risk?"— Presentation transcript:

1 First ISA Forum of Sociology, Barcelona, SPAIN September 5-8, 2008 How far has the conspiracy theory affected the perception and responses to HIV risk? Some counter-productive practices among young people in Cameroon Lucas TCHETGNIA UMR CEPED University of Paris Vwww.ceped.org/ Saturday, September 6th, 2008

2 OUTLINE INTRODUCTION I- A matter of Cameroonians complex relation to the West II- Methodoloy III- Questioning the external locus of control: it s not our fault, the West is responsible IV- A general context of mistrust V- Some counter-productive practices CONCLUSION

3 INTRODUCTION STAKE OF AIDS In Cameroon HIV Prevalence among young people 3.2% among those aged between 15-24, of which 4.8% of women and 1.4 % of men Precocity of sexual intercourse: median age of 15.8 in rural areas and 16.4 years in urban areas for urban men/ 17.7 for urban women and 18.7 for rural men/ 15.8 for rural women

4 INTRODUCTION Observation: some elements of exposure of Cameroonian youths to the HIV risk Having more than one sexual partner The practice of full contact Irregular use of condoms Ignoring one s serologic status and that of the partner When did the idea of conspiracy start? Onchocerciasis in Abega s novel Les Bimanes The Lake Nyos disaster in 1986 Rumours about sterilization during a vaccine campaign against poliomyelitis.

5 I- A matter of Cameroonians complex relation to the West Fascination (modern lifestyle with its positive effects like high quality of life, progress in medicine, technocraty, increase in life expectancy, the myth of western eldorado) Mistrust (setback of modernisation in terms of pollution, perception of sexual mores perceived as permissive) Wariness of the biomedical health system Victimization through a process of selective past and current information that would have contributed to empoverish Africa

6 II- Methodology Quantitative aspect The use of the Cameroon 2004 DHS Survey to contextualize Qualitative aspect Focus group interviews –36 sessions: 12 sessions in mixed groups of males and females and 12 by each sex group –Two age groups: and Informal and in-depth interviews – Adolescents in the streets, in youth association, in school Semi-structured interviews –Religious, traditional leaders, traditional healers, health service providers, peer educators …

7 III- Questioning the external locus of control: it s not our fault, the West is responsible Explaining the origins of HIV A. A matter of sexual deviance B. A matter of conspiracy (HIV as a disease created to sell condoms, kill Africans for many reasons: the high birth rate in Africa, racism and the meanness of Westerners)

8 The widespread thesis of business and conspiracy against Africa Condom as a bacteriological and ideological weapon To reduce the high birth rate in Africa Infected condoms to Kill Africans Condom as a business tool Enrichment of the West through the sale of condoms The reconstruction of bird flu and atypical pneumonia under the conspiracy theory A strategy to kill african chickens in order to make African dependent upon the West. Killing Chinese people who are challenging Westerners in many domaines.

9 The devastating power of rumour There is no smoke without fire The role of the media (internet, tv…)

10 Foot-dragging and wavering around the therapies Westerners who are so gifted can t find an efficient vaccine or therapy : That s bizarre! The big lie about the so-called research The implications of effective therapies on condom sale The western scientific establishment fix the rules and regulations for a reliable protocol Pr Anomah Nguh and Chinese discoveries invalidated

11 Conspiracy theory entered the fray during the last US Democratic primaries votes Jeremiah Wrights controversial statements on HIV conspiracy Barack Obamas embarassment Cameroonian youths expecting a clarification on the issue

12 Conspiracy theory are sometimes inspired by social facts The scandal of HIV drugs trials (Tenofovir) in January 2005 in Douala (Cameroon) Some malpractices in the past :The Tuskegee Syphilis Study On African Americans between 1932 and 1972 The trial of Dr Death in South Africa in 1998

13 IV- A general context of mistrust The fear of: -The girl who is unreliable and money-guided - The girl who requires condoms - The boy who is reluctant to use condoms - The free of charge or cheap condoms - The hospital through the staff who might be infected and try in turn to infect theirs patients - The governement who might be corrupted by the West - The Western world that might be empoverishing Africa.

14 V- Some Counter-productive practices Reasons –Necessity is the mother of invention. –The quest for safety, marked by higher bid over means of protection –Individuals having lost control on their own inventions, the objectives being so much contradictory. Practices consider to be safer –Put on two condoms (slipping one on another) –Avoid to use of cheap or free condoms (supposed either to be infected or on poor quality) –Full contact

15 ? Thank you for your attention


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