n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Stemming the HIV / AIDS epidemic in South Africa : are our HIV / AIDS campaigns failing us? : health communication




Media-based campaigns are critical tools in changing the behaviours that are fuelling the HIV / AIDS epidemic in South Africa. However, given the absence of an effective behaviour-change response in the face of the epidemic, many have come to doubt the efficacy of these campaigns. Campaign designers who profess to using best-practice principles in designing HIV / AIDS campaigns also report that although some of these campaigns book changes in beliefs and attitudes, they seldom have a significant effect on the behaviours that are fuelling the epidemic. <BR>This situation raises a number of general questions with regard to South African HIV / AIDS campaigns: How effective are media-based campaigns in general in changing health-related behaviours? Are South African HIV / AIDS campaigns successful or not? If not, why not, and what could be done to optimise their efficacy? What aspects of South African HIV / AIDS campaigns contribute to their efficacy and could be up-scaled in future campaigns? <BR>This article provides a critical analysis of the processes followed in the design of the Living Positively Campaign and of the design features of the messaging of the booklet <I>Living positively with HIV and AIDS.&lt;/I&gt; This analysis clearly indicates that despite claims by campaign designers of adherence to best-practice heuristics, very few of them are implemented in the design of HIV / AIDS campaigns.


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