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Canadian Journal of Media Studies, Vol. 5(1)

129

HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaigns: a Critical Analysis Mian Ahmad Hanan Professor, Humanities and Communication University of Central Punjab, Lahore

KEYWORDS Steps in Communication Campaign Design, HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Theories and Models of Health Communication, Advocacy, Importance of Language in Massage Construction, Steps in Behavior Change ABSTRACT In the absence of pharmacological, immunological, and medical interventions, the change in behavior and attitude of the public may only be considered a possible way for the prevention and cure for HIV/AIDS. The basic purpose of this study is to analyze the various communication models and steps that play a pivotal role in making successful communication campaigns for shaping public attitudes related to social stigmas and issues about HIV/AIDS. It further sheds light on the importance of combination of interpersonal and mass communication strategies for the development of these campaigns. In addition, this paper describes the significance of various components of effective message.

Introduction In the absence of pharmacological, immunological, and medical interventions, the change in behavior and attitude of the public may only be considered a possible way for the prevention and cure for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS-WHO 1998, para, 10). Although the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been identified as the etiological agent causing AIDS, transmissions of this virus depends largely on human behavior related to sexuality and drug use. Communication plays an important role in this process because it disseminates information that may prevent risk behavior and spread awareness leading to

Canadian Journal of Media Studies, Vol. 5(1)

130

the reduction of a social stigma. AIDS prevention programs disseminated through media or community awareness campaigns, are directed towards changing sexual practices and the use of intravenous needles. Most theories and models applied in HIV/AIDS awareness campaign are derived from social psychology, communications family planning and population. Many theories and models of health behavior change, including reasoned action, social learning, cognitive theory, and the hierarchy of effects, are based on individual psychology. In fact the assumption (such as individualism as opposed to collectivism) on which these theories and models are based are foreign to many nonWestern cultures. In majority of non-Western contexts, the family, group, and community play a greater role in decision-making: theories and models based on individualism continue to dominate communications strategies for HIV/AIDS prevention and care in such settings. Therefore, both strategies including use of mass media and interpersonal communication are effective ways of behavior change. The basic purpose of this study is to analyze the various communication models and steps that play a pivotal role in making successful communication campaigns for shaping public attitudes related to social stigmas and issues about HIV/AIDS. It further sheds light on the importance of combination of inter-personal and mass communication strategies for the development of these campaigns. In addition, this paper describes the significance of various components of effective message. Theories and Models Used in HIV/AIDS Prevention 1. The health belief model The health belief model was developed in the 1950s to predict individual response to screening and other preventive health services and their use. The HBM grew out of

Canadian Journal of Media Studies, Vol. 5(1)

131

research by social scientists in the U.S. public health services to explain the reluctance of people to participate in disease reduction program. The HBM is based on value expectancy theory (Melkote & Steeves, 2001, p. 132), that assumes that individuals will take preventive actions (risk-reduction behaviors) when they are susceptible to a disease (self-perception of...
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