|HIV/AIDS and Communication for Behavioural and Social Change: Programme Experiences, Examples, and the Way Forward (UNAIDS, 2001, 68 p.)|
|THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION PROGRAMMING|
Workshop participants emphasised that AIDS can be viewed as a disease of ignorance and intolerance. Taboos surrounding HIV/AIDS often prevent recognition, discussion, or acceptance of safe practices. In the absence of a vaccine and therapeutic cure, communication programming represents a key ingredient in the social vaccine against HIV/AIDS (Population Reports, 1989. P. 1).
Workshop participants recognised communication programming as being a crucial factor in the implementation of the various UNAIDS priority areas, including:
· GIPA (Greater Involvement of People with AIDS), which is an essential communicative tool for community mobilization and advocacy. It makes HIV visible, contributing to the breaking of silence.
· Young peoples right to know about HIV/AIDS, especially AIDS orphans, child labourers, street children, young girls at risk for prostitution, and others.
· Drug therapy and vaccines, in which new challenges are emerging for communication programming in light of the discovery of new antiretroviral combination drug therapies, as well as media coverage of efforts to develop an HIV vaccine.
· Prevention, care, and support in which communication programmes must now address the entire HIV/AIDS continuum. A holistic approach to HIV/AIDS should therefore go beyond prevention (the previous mantra for communication programmes) to also include enabling mechanisms for the biological, psychological and social care and support of HIV/AIDS patients.