A focus on care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world has become a key discussion in the general HIV/AIDS discourse. This study provides an in-depth analysis of two HIV/AIDS support groups operating in areas south of Durban, South Africa. In particular, the study presents the reader with a description of the main participants in the support groups, and an overview of how the support groups are structured and operate. The study reveals that each support group operates within an environment, in which a discrepancy of expectations, obligations, and goals amongst the support group participants exists. Additionally, the support group members and the sponsoring organization have varying perceptions of the support group, both in its ideal and actual form. The study reveals the way in which each support group oscillates between a state of stability and conflict, and how conflict and negotiation, in turn, become inherent within,and synonomous with, everyday organization and operation of the support groups.
Amy Hixon completed a Masters in Anthropology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a B.A. in Anthropology at the University of North Texas. She currently resides in Durban and works as a social science researcher.