|The Essential Handbook. Radio and HIV/AIDS: Making a Difference. A guide for radio practitioners, health workers and donors (UNAIDS, 2000, 128 p.)|
Radio and HIV/AIDS: Making a Difference has been written with two premises in mind: that even in this age of digital communications radio remains a powerful force to confront the health and social challenges posed by HIV/AIDS, but that there is much scope for improving programming. In addition, it is our conviction that improvement in HIV/AIDS mass communications can only be brought about by the local media, and this handbook is an attempt to offer some practical guidance on how to use it as effectively as possible.
Exactly how many radio receivers there are in developing countries is a matter of debate, but international agencies seem to agree on one statistic: in the least developed countries, there are ten times as many radios as televisions. Radio is not a medium that health educators can afford to ignore, or regard as marginal. They need to use it as a vital resource, but with a professional approach which we have tried to outline in the following pages.
The authors have drawn on examples of how radio has been used successfully in this field, to develop a series of guidelines which should apply to HIV/AIDS broadcasting in most countries. The use of other mass media is also covered, as is the particular responsibilities of reporting on HIV/AIDS, whether on radio, TV or in print. Some case studies are referred to on a number of occasions: the explanation for this is that we felt more confident about citing examples which we know about from personal experience.
Radio and HIV/AIDS: Making a Difference is principally written with radio broadcasters in mind, but HIV/AIDS workers will hopefully also find the contents of interest, as will media managers and policy makers in the information and education fields. It is intended to offer advice which is as practical as possible. HIV can be avoided, and so can much of the prejudice against people living with HIV/AIDS which is based on misconceptions. If radio can be used to help give early warning of high risk behaviour and to put the record straight on living with HIV/AIDS in the community, much suffering will be avoided.
Gordon Adam and Nicola Harford
Media Action International