Aside from the chapters in this volume and a few key pieces such as Hughes (2002), Wardlow (2002c), and Eves (2003), there has been little research into the impact of HIV/AIDS in remote rural communities in Papua New Guinea. This chapter seeks to redress this situation by examining the ways the burgeoning AIDS epidemic is being experienced, interpreted, understood, and confronted in out-of-the-way places, in this case Lake Kopiago in the far northwestern corner of Southern Highlands Province (see map 2).1 There, AIDS deaths are being attributed to the agency of witches, giving rise to heightened concerns about witchcraft more generally, and are being viewed and talked about as symptomatic of the world's end. Indeed, for the Duna speakers of Lake Kopiago, the AIDS epidemic is unfolding within a cosmology that gives priority to notions of entropic decline by paying particular attention to instances of social, moral, and environmental degradation. What follows is an account that seeks to elucidate some of the social, cultural, political, and economic factors shaping the epidemic and the Duna people's experiences of it. Specifi cally, it seeks to demonstrate that a clear link exists between service delivery failure, together with the breakdown of law and order, and how Duna are perceiving and experiencing the epidemic. Central to this is a consideration of local cultural beliefs concerning illness and morality.
|Title of host publication||Making Sense of Aids: Culture, Sexuality and Power in Melanesia|
|Editors||Richard Eves and Leslie Butt|
|Place of Publication||Honolulu|
|Publisher||University of Hawaii Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|