Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 6(12), pp. 868 - 875
DOI: 10.13189/sa.2018.061202
Reprint (PDF) (267Kb)

The Everyday Life Uncertainties of HIV/AIDS Diseased Bodies in the Era of HIV/AIDS Treatment in Kenya

Eric R Masese 1,*, Ednah N Masita 2
1 Department of Sociology and Psychology, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya
2 Department of Anthropology and Human Ecology, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya


Since the advent of HIV/AIDS more than four decades ago, the disease has continued to be constructed as "imminent death". This has made the experience of being diagnosed with the disease a traumatic life event in one's life project. Although overtime the disease has come to be conceptualized as a chronic illness through treatment using antiretroviral therapy, the reality of eventual mortality in the face of chronicity makes those infected to represent lived bodies suffering existential disruption. Using illness narratives from 20 respondents living with HIV/AIDS, selected using snowball sampling techniques, this paper shows the ambiguity of social construction of HIV/AIDS as a manageable chronic illness, and at the same time as an imminent death in everyday life. This ambiguity is evidenced by the strategies that people living with HIV/AIDS use in resisting the perception of their condition as a death sentence and at the same time trying to (re)negotiate their threatened identity due to stigma within the larger community they live in. This paper then argues that stigma still remains a major social problem among those living with HIV/AIDS despite the advancement in HIV/AIDS treatment. This is evidenced from illness narratives, which emphasize on personal transformation, social support and the search for normality as key strategies of dealing with limitations imposed by the HIV/AIDS illness in attaining culturally recognized markers of personhood in an individual life project.

HIV/AIDS Stigma, HIV/AIDS Treatment, Illness Narratives, Personhood, Lived Experiences

Cite this paper
Eric R Masese , Ednah N Masita . "The Everyday Life Uncertainties of HIV/AIDS Diseased Bodies in the Era of HIV/AIDS Treatment in Kenya." Sociology and Anthropology 6.12 (2018) 868 - 875. doi: 10.13189/sa.2018.061202.