n Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - Theories, models and strategies in developing an effective HIV / AIDS campaign in South Africa : research article




There is no doubt that the impact of media messages and campaigns has helped to inform, sustain and shape attitudes on a health issue such as HIV / AIDS. They have been heralded as the most important tools in raising awareness but little is known about how much impact they have had in changing people's behaviour. The purpose of HIV / AIDS health communication and campaigns is to educate by improving health, reducing the risks of HIV infections and promoting the well-being of individuals and communities. Most HIV / AIDS campaigns have been unsuccessful in achieving this goal because of poor conceptualisation and narrow strategic approaches. In fact, the media has been blamed for perpetuating confusions around the disease. Another problem may be that most health programme interventions have not been based on theories and models. Theories play a pivotal role in planning and implementing campaign strategies. Theories and models can be used to help campaign developers understand the nature of the targeted behaviour, suitable programmes for the targeted people, the methods that can be used to accomplish change, and the outcomes for the evaluation. Media messages and campaigns, if designed properly, can have a major impact on behavioural change. In this paper, I shall look at media messages and campaigns on HIV / AIDS, and address the application of health communication theories in influencing health behaviour. Finally, I shall look at how theories can be used to develop effective health campaigns targeting the people of South Africa.


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