Living with HIV/AIDS: An ethnograpy of care in Western Kenya

  • Hannah Brown

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis, 'Living with HIV/AIDS: An ethnography of care in Western Kenya', is based upon18 months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Central Nyanza, Kenya, between 2005-2007. It studies practices of care against the backdrop of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which hasimpacted the region severely. The thesis explores how home and hospital are established asdomains of care through practice. It draws upon ethnographic material collected from withina District Hospital, a Community-Based Organisation and people's homes.The thesis follows practices of care across divergent domains of social life to consider howpractices of care within Luo networks of kinship and relatedness intersect with governmentalinterventions to manage HIV/AIDS. The thesis describes two governmental projectsintroduced to administer HIV/AIDS care in this region. It considers Home-Based Care, anHIV/AIDS response in which Community Health Workers are trained to support particularaspects of care at home, focusing on the practices of care employed by Community HealthWorkers as they visit sick people at home and attend organisational meetings. The thesisalso describes the landscape of HIV care in the District Hospital, including the delivery of antiretroviraltherapy. The focus here is on the relationships between caring practices in thehospital and at home, and the divergent responsibilities to care experienced by hospital staffand family members.The main argument of the thesis is that care is a particularly useful analytical tool foranthropology because practices of care take place across many different domains of sociallife, cutting across the boundaries that have formed the traditional focus of anthropologicalstudy. Studying practices of care illuminates the production of bounded domains of sociallife whilst simultaneously drawing attention to similarities of practice across differentdomains. Care provides a way of understanding the complex social landscape that hasdeveloped as people in Western Kenya endeavour to live with HIV/AIDS.
Date of Award31 Dec 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMaia Green (Supervisor)


  • Kenya, Luo, Nyanza, HIV/AIDS, Care, Home-Based Care, Community Health Workers, Hospital, ARVs

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