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LETTING THEM DIE (article first published : 2003-09-19)

HIVAN - Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking, Adams Campus Bookshop and DoubleStorey Publishers (Cape Town) have just launched Professor Cathy Campbell's book entitled Letting Them Die: Why HIV/AIDS Intervention programmes fail.

Born and raised in South Africa, Professor Cathy Campbell worked as a journalist and later as a clinical and community psychologist prior to completing a PhD at the University of Bristol. She lectured at the University of Natal in Durban until 1993, when she took up her current post as a Reader in Social Psychology at the London School of Economics.

Prof Campbell teaches on the MSc. core courses in Social Psychology and supervises doctoral studies in the fields of HIV/AIDS, health promotion and community development in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.

Prof Campbell's association with HIVAN (Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking) as a Research Fellow involves a role as Principal Investigator in a KZN-based project entitled "Community Responses to HIV/AIDS". The project focuses on grassroots participation in HIV prevention, AIDS care and local community mobilisation as a strengthening strategy.

Cathy Campbell's book Letting them die - why HIV/AIDS intervention programmes fail addresses the question: “ Why do people knowingly engage in sexual behaviour that could lead to a slow and painful premature death?”. It also asks: “Why do the best-intentioned HIV - prevention programmes often have so little impact?”

The book is an examination of the social constructs and unique contexts of sexuality, participation and social change, compiled through detailed study of the processes yielded by a large-scale participatory HIV/AIDS intervention strategy undertaken in Summertown, a small mining township in the South African province of Gauteng, over a three-year period during the late 1990s.

Letting them die is a forceful presentation of the earliest and most comprehensively researched critique of the participatory community development approach to HIV prevention. It also contains recommendations that reshape and invigorate the approach so as to promote health-enabling community contexts, and to strengthen social capital so that survivors of the epidemic might reconstruct their lives with some prospect of success.

The book is available at Adams Campus Bookshop at the University of Natal, Durban. Phone 031 261-2320 or e-mail: adamsbks@iafrica.com




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