Negative Enablers

In the African culture and community, socio-cultural factors can undoubtedly serve as negative enablers that impede people’s efforts towards improved health and quality of life. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the African battle against the spread of AIDS and HIV. In this context, negative enablers include “…the lack of available, accessible, acceptable and affordable resources needed to promote positive preventive health decisions and actions” (Airhihenbuwa & Webster, 2004, p. 11).

What is considered to be culturally acceptable, for example, may be a negative enabler that allows for the continuation of poor treatment for those with AIDS/HIV or even a ban on education and prevention. Many people’s religious views often refuse to acknowledge the AIDS epidemic or will not allow those infected to be treated, as they have a certain stigma that stems from lack of education. The lack of affordable resources can include anything from the inability to receive proper schooling or education regarding AIDS prevention, or simply being unable to afford condoms and other forms of birth control.

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Oftentimes in African communities, the people’s mere inability to pay for condoms will serve as a negative enabler that creates a barrier when the community is trying to promote safe sex and HIV awareness. Another major negative enabler is Africa’s gender roles, which have been upheld for generations. Gender politics and other views have affected how men and women interact with each other, how many sexual partners they should have, and who has ultimate control over any sexual encounters (Wallace, 2008, p. 54).

With skewed perceptions that do not facilitate safe sexual behavior, let alone equal sexual rights between men and women, it is clear that aspects of certain African cultures are negative enablers that make it that much more difficult for the people to move towards better health. References Airhihenbuwa, C. O. , & Webster, J. D. (2004). Culture and African Contexts of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care, and Support. Journal of Social Aspects, 1, 4-13. Wallace, B. C. (2008). Toward Equity in Health: A New Global Approach to Health Disparities. New York: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.


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