The effects of HIV

Currently, there are only two workable remedies that have been shown to help curb the effects of HIV. The first is the use of antiretroviral drugs to slow down the progression of the virus in the body and to help prevent victims of the disease from developing AIDS. This option is however costly for people living in Sub Sahara Africa where over 70% of the world’s poorest countries are located (UNFPA 2005, pg6). With the exception of the United States and some European countries, the cost of antiretroviral treatment is prohibitive for most governments and their people — especially those who are worse affected by HIV/AIDS.

The second remedy is through public health education. Public health education is a tool that has been proved effective since humanity adopted it as an option to fight diseases and infection. Unlike the medical option, public health education is the least expensive and yet, most effective because it helps people make informed decisions that prevent them from being infected with the virus. The huge financial costs associated with antiretroviral drugs and the fact that there is no cure in sight indicates that our best efforts to deal with the disease must focus on education programs.

This is because the best alternative to being infected is preventing the infection in the first place. According to some studies, educational programs which use behavioural interventions that employ reasoned persuasion have been effective at getting people change their behaviour thus, avoiding infection (Takyi 2003; Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) & World Health Organisation (WHO) 2004). In addition to employing these behavioural interventions, other factors like the gender of characters in messages as well as the frame of the messages have also been found to impact message reception.

A study using ‘lay’ helpers as models of change for women’s health found that; 1) women listened to issues of most concern to them and; 2) women talked and discussed with each other about their health successes and failures (Tessaro 2000, pg612). However, a study, which examined the contents of HIV/AIDS media campaigns from twelve sub-Saharan African countries, revealed that the messages were gendered (Kutufam 2005). The study found that women and the issues that affect them in their fight against the disease are not addressed in these campaigns because they are not represented pictorially and perspectively (Kutufam 2005).

In another study, Kalichman, Kelly, Hunter, Murphy, and Tyler (1993) examine the demonstrated importance of framing AIDS information in a culturally relevant context in public service videotapes for African-American women. Kalichman et al (1993) found that African- American women who viewed culturally sensitive HIV prevention messages delivered by African-American women were more likely to request condoms and be tested for HIV, than women who viewed standard public health messages. Their findings support assertions that African-American women were more likely to listen to information that takes cognisance of their cultural needs.

The health development of every community/group relies on the citizen’s involvement in identifying their health needs and implementing initiatives to improve the outcomes of these health needs. Therefore, people who have been ignored in health education and prevention efforts require special attention from educators, policy makers, and program developers (Pasick, D’Onofrio, & Otero-Sabogal 1996). The current trend of HIV infection in Sub Sahara Africa shows that either gender is ignored, or that very little attention is paid to gender as an important factor in explaining health differentials among men and women.

There is also the need to address HIV/AIDS from the social, cultural, and economic perspectives as a compliment to efforts by medical sciences to find a cure for the disease. In order to best situate this study in terms of past and current scholarship and to comment on the path being forged ahead, a wide range of perspectives will be addressed. A look at HIV/AIDS as a global phenomenon, one whose direness and devastation prompts its domination as a subject matter in contemporary media discourse, highlights the emphasis on communication strategies in hopes of combating its effects.

Chapter two reviews the discourses framing the theoretical relationship between HIV/AIDS, socio-cultural theories, communications and media. Addressing diverse facets of society and proposing different approaches at conceptualising and battling HIV/AIDS, Chapter three celebrates the possibilities, showcases the limitations, and recalls the gross inequalities and discrimination that laid the foundation for the pandemic as it is experienced in South Africa. Chapter four evaluates the ways and strategies in which the South Africa provides communication interventions for behaviour change. .

The public health problem I select is HIV/AIDS WITHIN THE African American population. The HIV epidemic in United States in alarming, however it is becoming particularly alarming more so within the African American community. It is not long ago since …

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In the early 1980s, AIDS was seen as a disease for homosexuals and drug users only. However, research as well as education on the disease brought about the awareness that this disease could affect anyone; hence changed the people’s attitude …

HIV/AIDS has been labelled as one of the major problems facing the African continent and the most severe evidence of the problem is concentrated within the region commonly called Sub Sahara Africa. Sub-Sahara Africa is made up of the forty-eight …

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