Caring for people living with AIDS

C.J. du Preez, A. Niehof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper discusses the concept of care and its implementation with reference to caring for people living with AIDS (PLWA) as 'a labour of love'. The first part of the paper elaborates on care as love, an emotion, and care as labour, an activity, followed by a discussion on four interconnected phases of care, namely 'caring about', 'taking care of', 'care-giving' and 'care-receiving' and the requirements for 'good' care. The gendered nature of care and the resources required for adequate quality care are also discussed. The emphasis in this paper is on the arrangement of care for PLWA, at the micro-level of the household as provided by family and community members, while recognising the role of the state and the market in care provision. This framework is applied to cases from non-urban KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The cases, presented according to the four phases of care, not only illustrate care for PLWA as emotion and hard work, but also reveal the gendered nature of care and the resources required to provide quality care. The discussion, the last part of the paper, reflects on care as emotion and care as work and what it entails for different gender groups in this cultural setting characterised by limited access to especially economic resources, where social capital proved to be a crucial resource for the PLWA to access care. It also goes beyond the four phases of care by incorporating the experiences of the caregiver and her/his response to the feedback received from the care receiver.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedische Antropologie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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