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close this bookHIV/AIDS and Communication for Behavioural and Social Change: Programme Experiences, Examples, and the Way Forward (UNAIDS, 2001, 68 p.)
close this folderTHE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION PROGRAMMING
close this folderCommunicative Challenges for HIV/AIDS
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View the documentCase: The Entertainment-Education Strategy: From Private Closets to Public Discourse

Case: The Entertainment-Education Strategy: From Private Closets to Public Discourse

In Japan, the number of HIV tests and the requests for HIV/AIDS counselling more than doubled between July and September, 1998, thanks largely to a popular melodramatic television series, “Kamisama Mo Sukoshidake” (“Please God, Just a Little More Time”), which told the story of a high-school girl who is infected by HIV while she engages in commercial sex work. This highly popular programme, which was broadcast over three months, addressed the issues of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support, as also the issue of teenage prostitution in a culturally-sensitive manner, breaking the media’s silence on the topic. Prior to the broadcasts of “Kamisama Mo Sukoshidake”, which amplified human emotions in confronting stigma, shame, guilt, fear, and anger, public awareness about HIV/AIDS had declined in Japan for five straight years, primarily because of media’s reluctance to address the taboo topic. The television series earned the second highest ratings of all programmes broadcast during the summer of 1998 in Japan, moving a highly stigmatised topic to the domain of public discourse.

Entertainment-education programmes, such as “Kamisama Mo Sukoshidake”, represent an effective and viable weapon in the war against HIV/AIDS (Piotrow, Meyer, & Zulu, 1992). Such programmes utilize the popular appeal of entertainment formats (such as melodrama) to consciously address educational issues (Singhal & Rogers, 1999; Piotrow et al., 1997)). They earn high audience ratings, involve audience members emotionally, and spur interpersonal conversations among listeners on various topics.

Source: Watts (1998).