HIV/AIDS and Muslims in South Africa: The ‘Untouchable’ Disease

Main Article Content

Shabnam Shaik


UNAIDS (2015) reports that globally there are currently 36.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Despite the extensive biomedical, social and cultural research that has been conducted globally, Muslims have largely been absent in the discourse on HIV/AIDS. Worldwide, studies are few and statistical information about Muslims living with HIV/AIDS is lacking. The formulation of intervention programmes, amongst Muslims, is therefore challenging when information about the particular population group is scarce. This paper seeks to conceptualise HIV/AIDS amongst Muslims of Indian descent in Durban, South Africa, with an aim to uncover the social and cultural context of the disease. South African Indian Muslims are part of the worldwide Indian diasporic dialogue and as such certain cultural traditions are shared which influence the manner in which the disease is interpreted and experienced by this group. The study is exploratory in nature and seeks to understand the social and cultural challenges that HIV+ Muslims of Indian descent in Durban, face. Research findings are based on life histories that have been conducted with key participants in order to reveal the hidden nature of HIV/AIDS in the Indian Muslim community of Durban, South Africa.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Muslims, South Africa, Indian, Socio-cultural challenges

Article Details

How to Cite
Shaik, S. (2017). HIV/AIDS and Muslims in South Africa: The ‘Untouchable’ Disease. Alternation Journal, 24(1), 314-335. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Shabnam Shaik, Rhodes University