Religious and Communicative Encumbrances in HIV and AIDS Discourse

  • K Labeodan
Keywords: HIV and AIDS, language, communication, religious leaders, faith-based organizations


Various discourses on the HIV and AIDS pandemic particularly the prevention of its spread have been communicated through language. Language is a universal means of communication. It must pass on desirable and positive information and the situation where the reverse is the case, it must be discouraged. It has however being discovered that the language being used in discussing and communicating the spread of HIV and AIDS is derogatory. It must however, be stated that the analysis of the religious language here is from a Christian perspective This paper is an empirical investigation of what speakers actually say during interaction, and statements made by religious leaders during communication. It argues that despite the laudable position of these Christian Faith communities on the responses to HIV and AIDS, Christian religious leaders through their language have contributed to the burden of the disease. The paper stresses that speakers must be polite in their use of language. It draws on Brown and Levinson's politeness strategies to argue that since HIV and AIDS is a deadly disease, discourses and the language being used must be sensitive and polite. The paper concludes by emphasizing that, using the right and desirable language during communication while relating with people living with HIV and AIDS can help to alleviate the burden of living with HIV and AIDS.

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