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Horizontes Antropológicos

Print version ISSN 0104-7183On-line version ISSN 1806-9983

Abstract

KNAUTH, Daniela Riva; VICTORA, Ceres Gomes  and  LEAL, Ondina Fachel. A banalização da Aids. Horiz. antropol. [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.9, pp.171-202. ISSN 0104-7183.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-71831998000200010.

This paper discusses the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the social representations and behavior of a population living in the neighborhood (bairro) that concentrates the highest mortality rates for AIDS in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We suggest that, with the increased number of infected individuals, there is a familiarization with the disease that affects social representations and practices associated with AIDS. In this case, the high incidence turns AIDS into something “normal”, even banal, part of people’s everyday lives. We argue that such “familiarity”, instead of increasing awareness and preventive attitudes, ends up producing the opposite effect. It may result in lack of credibility for preventive action and, in some cases, procrastinate the seeking of medical support and therapy either because people tend to minimize the threat of the problem itself, or because they have seen cases where “nothing can actually be done to avoid it”.

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