Negative stereotypes examined through the HIV and AIDS discourse: qualitative findings from white young people in Johannesburg, South Africa

  • M Nduna
  • J Mendes
Keywords: adolescents, HIV, stereotypes, race, racism, youth, South Africa


Previous studies reporting perceptions of HIV and AIDS by white youth in South Africa suggest both explicit and implicit racial stereotypes and negative attitudes. This paper contributes to the literature on the discourse of racial stereotypes found in discussions about HIV and AIDS. The study was conducted in the suburb of Edenvale, north-east of Johannesburg, South Africa. Three focus group discussions were held with mixed-sex, white middle-class participants aged 16 to 24. Key findings show stereotypes related to cultural knowledge and group character of black youth. Participants spoke negatively of ignorance, illiteracy, traditionalism, backwardness and lack of civilisation among black youth. Black youth were negatively represented as relying on ancestors and traditional healers for guidance. Participants reasoned that black young males were sexually irresponsible and promiscuous, and were spreading HIV intentionally. Thus it is imperative that contemporary HIV prevention interventions in South Africa address and
dispel stereotypes reproducing racist discourses.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1813-4424
print ISSN: 1729-0376