oa South African Health Review - Confronting HIV and AIDS through mass media and community action : HIV and AIDS
This chapter looks at South Africa's major communication initiatives on HIV and AIDS - Soul City, loveLife and Khomanani, during the period 1999 - 2004. It describes their strategic approaches and communication methods and sketches the range and magnitude of their activities. The three interventions, all substantially funded by government, emerge as quite distinct. Their work is largely complementary, although there is some overlap. A growing trend over the five years has been the expansion of face-to-face communication which is used in combination with mass media initiatives. This chapter summarises research findings which reflect on the impact of these and other initiatives over the years. The studies include general surveys on sexual practice and specific impact studies. Although the combined efforts of these (and other) initiatives have not secured a downturn in HIV prevalence, specific impact studies show that they are, variously, associated with positive shifts in:<UL> <LI>Knowledge, attitudes and safe sex behaviours which are conducive to curtailing HIV infection.</LI> <LI>Knowledge, attitudes and supportive activities that serve to reduce the stigma that attaches to HIV and AIDS, to promote health seeking behaviour and to build a more caring environment.</LI></UL> Condom use as a method of safe sex has increased significantly. However, overall levels of use, consistency of use and practice in certain age groups are not yet adequate to change infection patterns. More generally, studies indicate there is a greater degree of openness about HIV and AIDS and growth in acceptance of those living with the virus.
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