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Friendship and politicization of social support networks: reflections from a NGO/AIDS study in the great São Paulo area

The current picture of the HIV/Aids epidemic has strengthened the trend of connection with social exclusion, in the sense that the people who are most vulnerable to the infection are those that suffer from the consequences of poverty and/or belong to minority groups. This profile stimulates actions against discrimination and stigmatization, not only related to HIV/Aids, but to other forms of discrimination and social oppression associated with the syndrome, such as those related to gender, race/ethnicity, and social class. This study aims to discuss, from the psychosocial point of view, the role of the NGOs/Aids as promoters of the creation of social support networks, focusing on the process of politicization of the affective bonds of the people who live with HIV/Aids (PHA) through political participation. This study had its empirical field in a NGO/AIDS located in the Great São Paulo area. We consider that the NGO can contribute to build new social networks for the PHA. Thus, we view the NGO/Aids as a transition space for people who arrive at the institution searching for aid. Through the accounts, we highlight some of the psychosocial aspects that contribute to and/or hinder the process of re-articulation of these PHA in new social networks, such as: life trajectories marked by social oppressions and individualism, both aggravated by the impact of HIV/Aids; the contradictions derived from living together in the institutional space; and possibilities of transformation of the community bonds through solidarity and citizenship.

HIV/Aids; Political Participation; Social Networks; Non-governmental Organization; Friendship

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil