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“Dissemination as Intervention”: Building Local HIV Competence through the Report Back of Research Findings to a South African Rural Community



Abstract:  What ethical obligations do researchers have to research informants in marginalised communities in serious distress? Our “dissemination as intervention” exercise reported research findings back to a South African rural community—using a dialogical approach which sought to strengthen participants’ confidence and ability to respond more effectively to HIV/AIDS. Nine workshops were conducted with 121 people. Workshops provided opportunities for participants to start developing critical understandings of the possibilities and limitations of their responses to HIV/AIDS, understandings which constitute a necessary (though obviously not sufficient) condition for further action. Workshops alerted participants to the valuable role played by local HIV/AIDS volunteers, facilitating reflection on how local people might better support the volunteers. These discussions served as the impetus for the establishment of a three-year community-led intervention to further these goals.