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White liver: A cultural disorder resembling aids


  • Kerr, Harry D.


Hoodoo is a folk belief system common among black Americans. Conjuration and rootwork are other terms used to describe this system which includes the casting of spells and witchcraft. This paper describes the black folk concept of 'white liver', an aspect of hoodoo which bears striking resemblance to AIDS. White liver refers to a condition characterized by sexual excess and a wasting to death of sexual partners. Although clearly antedating by many years the current AIDS epidemic, white liver is important as a contemporary black cultural entity that may be used to describe AIDS or to articulate a fear of AIDS.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerr, Harry D., 1993. "White liver: A cultural disorder resembling aids," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 609-614, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:36:y:1993:i:5:p:609-614

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