Sterility and Stigma in an Era of HIV/AIDS: Narratives of Risk Assessment among Men and Women in Botswana

  • RL Upton
  • EM Dolan
Keywords: Norethisterone, Primolut N tablet, Pre-coital oral contraceptive

Abstract

This paper examines the experience and interpretations of infertility and sterility in northern Botswana. Specifically it highlights the role of stigma and impression management among Tswana men and women through their narratives and discourse about childbearing and personhood in an era of HIV/AIDS. The paper demonstrates that in a country with one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world, risky sexual practices are weighed against cultural norms that suggest being a full person and productive adult is to be a reproductive man or woman. Through longitudinal qualitative research the narratives and life histories of several individuals offer ethnographic evidence on the power of stigma. The research finds that even with ubiquitous HIV/AIDS education and prevention programmes throughout Botswana, Tswana engage in various kinds of risk taking behaviours as means through which impressions and identities as full persons of value may be managed successfully (Afr J Reprod Health 2011; 15[1]: 95-100).
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eISSN: 1118-4841