Resilience of HIV/AIDS-affected households in a village in Tanzania: Does social capital help?

C. Nombo, A. Niehof

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HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality reduce the ability of households to generate livelihood and cushion other shocks. Social capital is supposed to have the potential to mitigate the impacts of HIV/AIDS and help affected households maintain their resilience, but the extent to which it can do so remains questionable. Drawing from a study in village in the region of Morogoro in Tanzania, this paper investigates the impacts of HIV/AIDS on social capital and its implications for rural livelihoods resilience. The findings reveal that the significance of social capital for helping individuals and households to cope with the shock of HIV/AIDS does not apply in a situation of widespread poverty. Additionally, HIV/AIDS undermines reciprocity by diminishing resources that could have been invested in social relations, while access to social capital is fraught with difficulty due to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. Different from the idealized view that social capital helps households maintain their livelihoods and strengthens their resilience to future shocks and stress, many of the HIV/AIDS-affected households were found unable to cope with HIV/AIDS impacts, because social capital itself is not resilient in a context of high HIV/AIDS prevalence and widespread poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-258
JournalMedische Antropologie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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