Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/epidemiology/*prevention & control/therapy
*Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Information Services/standards/*statistics & numerical data
Patient Education as Topic/*methods/standards
Preventive Health Services/*standards
Although substantial evidence is now accumulating that some African peoples readily accept advice and help about health from both modern medical and traditional sources, this has not yet happened with--what is arguably the major health problem in many part of Africa--AIDS. We asked 175 of Malawi's undergraduates what sources they judged to be credible with regard to information on preventing and clinically managing AIDS. While traditional healers were seen on average to be less credible than modern health professionals (doctors and nurses), there was no correspondence between credibility of traditional healers and modern health professionals. Thus a strong belief in the credibility of modern health professionals was not associated with low credibility ratings for traditional healers. Our findings provide further support for "tropical tolerance", especially as regards a pluralistic (modern and traditional together) approach to the prevention of AIDS. Given the over-stretched health services in Malawi and many other African countries, a pluralistic approach to AIDS prevention could be a credible and economic use of indigenous human resources.