Children and the media
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HIV, AIDS and the media
The particular vulnerability of young people to
HIV/AIDS makes it one of the most important health issues for the
media to tackle. Media programmes can offer an ideal vehicle for
bypassing social taboos which may hinder frank discussion of sexual
practices - conveying images of AIDS, promoting informed discussion,
dispelling false information, and playing a crucial role in helping
to reduce the level of HIV/AIDS among young people.
In Zambia, 100 people a day are dying of HIV/AIDS.
Research indicated that a large percentage of Zambian young people
were having unprotected sex. At the same time, the young people
interviewed expressed a need for information that was current and
more accessible. The response was the youth mass media campaign,
Helping Each Other Responsibly Together (HEART), which AIDS specialists
believe is responsible for the recent reduction in the HIV rate
among the country's young people. The campaign was particularly
effective because it was planned and implemented by young people.
Around the world, innovative projects are being
launched in an attempt to harness the power of the media to help
prevent the spread of AIDS. This requires careful preparation as
insensitive programming can reinforce stereotypes and provoke fear.
It is vital that the efforts of media professionals should be as
comprehensive as possible. Do the programmes/publications respond
to the cultural needs of the target audience? Do they offer suggestions
and provide contact details about where to seek personal support?
Are partnerships between health workers or other groups in society
highlighted in the initiative? Do they promote healthy and responsible
behaviour as opposed to sanctioning or criticising the sexual behaviour
of young people? Are role models used successfully to encourage
campaign 'Unite for children, unite against AIDS"
make the campaign video
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