Dr. Stefan Buchholz

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Corresponding Member

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Master in Social Sciences (Dipl. Soz.-Wiss.), Ruhr-University Bochum

Fields of Expertise

  • Empirical Social Research (HIV/AIDS related Stigma);
  • Evaluation

Current Project

Doctoral Thesis: Determining Factors of HIV/AIDS-Related Stigma in South Africa

More than thirty years after its discovery, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which causes the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), shows devastating impact on many societies in the world. In 2009, South Africa faced the largest and most destructive epidemic worldwide, with more than 450,000 citizens newly infected with HIV. More than 310,000 South Africans died of AIDS-related diseases. Besides their suffering, people with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) face negative social responses including prejudice, discrimination and violence. These reactions are summarized under the term “HIV/AIDS related Stigma”- and turned out to be a barrier to effective responses to the pandemic. Only if determining factors of HIV related stigma can be identified, countermeasures can be developed, evaluated and established.
The current research project is designed as a quantitative statistical analysis with main focus on the development of standardized indicators that allow a valid and reliable measurement of HIV-related stigma among young adults in South Africa. In addition, the extent and the impact of possible stigma determinants will be investigated. The scientific framework involves classical sociological stigma theories and insights from existing empirical studies that were conducted inside and outside South Africa during the last two decades.
The main purpose of the project is the quantification of HIV related stigma and its possible determining factors among young adults. The best way to access young adults is the education system. Therefore, it is intended to conduct the research in cooperation with the Cape Town Universities and the FET Colleges in the Western Cape Region as partner institutions. Students are considered to be a specific key group within the South African society, as today´s university students will hold key positions in future South Africa. Their present attitudes can forge either tolerance or future prejudice and stigmatization. If recognized early enough, the environment of colleges and universities provides many opportunities to intervene against stigma, before attitudes have strengthened and the students have taken position in society.

Mentoring (Master in Development Management)

  • Strehl, Meike (2012): The Transition to Adulthood for Vulnerable Youth Populations in South Africa. A Study on the Needs on Further Education, Income Generation and Employment of Township Youths in Johannesburg in the Context of Financial Cooperation of the KfW Development Bank with South Africa
  • Kanema (geb. Chanda), Mwila (2010): Impact of Microfinance on Wellbeing and Empowerment of Women: A Case Study of Zambia
  • Su Su Khine, (2010): The Impact of Early Child Development Scheme on Poverty Alleviation. A Project Evaluation from Eastern Myanmar
  • Ntim, Felix (2010): Prospects and Challenges to Micro-Finance in Post-Conflict Economies: The Case of Liberia since 2003