Deconstructing the Awareness Campaign in Rural West New Britain, Papua New Guinea
This chapter examines the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. In West New Britain, the awareness campaign assumes a Western model of disease transmission and fails to make a connection between cause, infection, and effect. Even more importantly, in thoroughly Western biomedical style, the campaign dismisses the spiritual as irrelevant to disease causation and cure, whereas the spiritual—be it ancestors, spirit beings, the Holy Spirit, or sorcery—is very much part of the Papua New Guinean peoples' struggle to understand the causes and cures of HIV/AIDS. Indeed, including the spiritual may have more impact on an AIDS awareness campaign than efforts to show that healthy-looking people in posters are really dying.
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