Knowledge about HIV/AIDS is not enough. HIV/AIDS policies are not enough. Responding to HIV/AIDS requires dealing with the powerful and deep-rooted emotional blocks to change. NGOs in South Africa have been suffering from the symptoms of HIV/AIDS in the workplace for the last decade. Their staff are affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.

NGO costs rise and productivity decreases as people take time off for care, for funerals and because they are sick. Yet despite these debilitating symptoms, many NGOs are failing to respond to HIV/AIDS in their own organisations.

Project Empower’s experience with NGOs in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa suggests that this is because the underlying emotional blocks – denial, fear and fatigue – are inhibiting response. This paper describes the different ways this is happening. It concludes that for significant organisational change to occur we have to understand and address these emotional constraints. An imported HIV/AIDS policy that leaves such issues untouched is unlikely to make much difference.


Praxis Note 38 - Denial fear and fatigue - Project Empower

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