WED FORUM: The Interplay of Power & Agency amongst Muslim Living with HIV & AIDS


Departed from the discussion of Religion and Science in the context of Islam and AIDS in this country, this research covers questions related to the complexity of AIDS realities in Indonesian Islam. Through the demonstration of the overlapping knowledge constructions of HIV & AIDS, this research does not only analyse the reciprocal influence of science and (religion) Islam at the level of knowledge constitution, but also accommodates the alternative medicines on AIDS as the synthesis and independent knowledge and reality.

From the narratives and responses of fifty informants who participate in in this qualitive research, it indicates that the discourse of AIDS and Islam in this country are so much governed by the exercise of power at different levels. As this research focuses on religion based on stigma related to HIV and AIDS, it shows how the power relations create not only virtual incommensurability amongst Muslim living with HIV & AIDS (MLWHA), but also unique forms of social piety amongst them.

The research argues that some MLWHA in this country are capable to negotiate stigma related to their HIV status by operating their agency and involve in the construction of AIDS realities and knowledge among themselves. The emergence of tentative polarization of MLWHA – as I found – explains that they are not merely objects of different AIDS construction of knowledge, but they are also subjects who are – through their illness narratives – empowered to deal and negotiate their knowledge and realities.

Syamsu Madyan, Ph.D. A lecturer of Islamic Studies of Islamic University of Malang and an executive director of INTERNA (Indonesian Interfaith Networks of HIV & AIDS – Jakarta)

This post is also available in: Indonesian


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