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close this bookHIV/AIDS and Communication for Behavioural and Social Change: Programme Experiences, Examples, and the Way Forward (UNAIDS, 2001, 68 p.)
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View the documentCase: Child Courts in Zimbabwe
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View the documentCase: Buddhist Principles to Cope With AIDS

Case: Buddhist Principles to Cope With AIDS

Spiritual care is an integral part of the Sanpatong Home-Based Care project in Thailand, where Buddhist principles of kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity help the afflicted to cope with AIDS. Buddhist monks teach meditation to help people find tranquility, boosting their mental strength to continue with life. Spiritual guidance is provided on how to protect oneself from suffering and how to see the natural hand in the human cycle of life and death. Discourses cover how to come to terms with one’s mortality, or that of a loved one. Those suffering from HIV/AIDS often spend week-long retreats at Buddhist Wats (temples), where they meditate, re-examine their spiritual beliefs, and benefit from a regimen of healthy diet and exercise.

People in six out of the 10 ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries subscribe to Buddhist principles, suggesting some important guides for designing communication programmes for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support in this region. Buddhist principles forbid the taking of life (i.e. do not infect others) or consumption of substances to alter the natural body state (i.e. do not consume alcohol or inject IV drugs),thus providing an effective spiritual platform to address high-risk behaviour.

Source: UNAIDS (1999a, p. 71).