Media has a powerful role to play in educating the world. It was years ago, that Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the disease now recognized all over the world as AIDS, was first detected and recorded in Asia. Over the past two decades, the infection rate has grown rapidly in Asia, which is now second number to Africa in the number of HIV positive people. In Pakistan, HIV and AIDS was first detected in 1986 and according to UNAIDS estimates, this country now has over 80,000 infected people…and counting. HIV/AIDS programming needs to become part of the DNA of media companies globally.
In the beginning of the advertising campaign against AIDS in the initial years… a time when media men were scared to even write the word “AIDS” in the copy of a commercial. There were restrictions and they did not know how to address the issue. It was after a lot of guts that a commercial was finally produced saying: “AIDS is a dangerous disease, prevention is must”. It was later improved to “HIV is dangerous, Protect yourself” focusing on only blood and blood products as the mode of transmission. There was no mention of sex because media men were not permitted to use the word “condom”.
In 2002 that a commercial was finally made showing and promoting male contraception. It was approved by the local censor board with some modification, but when it was ready to be aired, the state run media resisted its telecast as the concerned officials got cold feet and said no. it should be “ qurbat k taaluqaat mein ehtyat kijye “ and use this ( condom was shown). It did not even use the word Condom. It was only after 2002 that all the modes of transmission of HIV and AIDS between the sexes were explained. During this period, media has started taking up the issue in their programming.
If we make comparison between Indian and Pakistani awareness campaigns, Pakistan is still years behind. As in Indian commercials they openly discuss the issue as in Pakistan things are yet not openly discussed. As researcher have analysis of some Indian TV commercial on AIDS. In one Indian commercial a lawyers community have shown and one of them is going to a prostitution all are making fun of him but an old aged lawyer told him that he can enjoy with prostitution but he should use Condom for safe sex so that he can protect himself from AIDS. This ad explains that peer group discussions can be effective for creating awareness for safe sex.
In Pakistan recent days a condom ad with the song “suno zara khushi ki aahat” is running on PTV (Pakistan television) with the collaboration of Green Star (family planning organization). This ad is a song based story in which a happy newly married family with a new born baby has shown. There is not mention in all the song that it’s about the use of condom but at the end of the song 5-6 second logo of the condom has shown. Although the mass media awareness campaigns have not been successful, some developing countries have successfully used the media to combat the epidemic.
Media does have the potential to contribute significantly to disseminating this HIV/AIDS messages if utilized effectively and efficiently. Radio is used by the majority of the people in the rural areas therefore radio can be effectively used in the HIV/AIDS awareness. The hypothesis of this research was that “HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns through the media were not effective” was proved otherwise. Media was accessible to both the rural and urban areas and people were aware of the mode of HIV transmission, however there was still misconception about other forms of transmission about mosquito bites, kissing and drinking from the same cup.
Thus it can be concluded that if the majority of the people are equipped with the general knowledge about HIV/AIDS, then that will the attitude change because people will know how to take care of a PLWHA, thus, stigma and discrimination would be reduced. The Media and the people’s attitude are the two factors that have proved to be powerful tools that can have a big impact on the prevalence rate of the HIV infection. The ability of the media to influence people’s perspective towards HIV/AIDS cannot be effective if other factors such as lack of knowledge, level of education, unemployment, cultural and religion interaction and social injustice.
These continue to manipulate the awareness messages in the media. It has been discovered that there is a need for more HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns carried out using appropriate and relevant languages and IEC materials that could be easily understood by the majority of the rural people, and help them change their attitudes towards the messages Media accessibility would not make a difference in the people’s attitudes, but it is the content and context of the messages through the use of the correct level of language that would enhance the people’s comprehension of the problem.
That will in turn, reduce the infection rate and decrease the level of stigma and discrimination. Media messages are not clear that people can’t understand. HIV is among us and only by accepting this can we deal with it and for this purpose researcher have planned a strategy.
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS., and World Health Organization. AIDS epidemic update, December 2006. World Health Organization, 2007.
- UNICEF., Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS., and World Health Organization. Young people and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity in crisis. The Stationery Office, 2002.
- Park, Benjamin J., et al. “Estimation of the current global burden of cryptococcal meningitis among persons living with HIV/AIDS.” Aids 23.4 (2009): 525-530.
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April 27, 2000
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HIV and AIDS
Good afternoon everyone. Today I would like to inform you all about HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, and AIDS, aquired immune deficiency syndrome. Statistics show that about 35% of AIDS cases have been in the age group of 20-29. Now many of you may already know that AIDS has a long period between infection with the virus and the appearance of symptoms. Meaning that some of those people between the ages 20 and 29 probably contracted the virus when they were teenagers. Being that most of us in this room fall near or in that age range, my goal today is to inform you of how the virus is contracted, symptoms of this disease, and most importantly, the best way to go about taking more precaution into preventing this fatal disease.
AIDS is preceded by HIV infection. HIV can only be transmitted three different ways (refer to visual aid). (1) The first is through sexual contact. This is the most common way HIV is contracted. It can be passed when an infected person has vaginal or anal intercourse with another. (2) The second way this deadly virus is transmitted is through the exchange of blood. This method of transmission is now almost entirely limited to people who inject drugs and share needles. This type of contact between an infected person and someone else is the second most common way this virus is passed. HIV can also be contracted through blood transfusions. Now blood transfusions are far safer now than they were in the early years of the AIDS problem. (3) The third way is from mother to child. Sadly, most children with HIV contracted it from their infected mothers during pregnancy or childbirth. If the woman is infected, her child has a 50/50 chance of being born with the virus. Once, or if, this virus is contracted through these ways, the symptoms of the HIV infection may not appear for a long time after the person gets infected.
Initial symptoms of the HIV infection are usually the same as those of minor illnesses like the cold or flu. The symptoms are tiredness, swollen lymph glands, fever, loss of appetite and weight, diarrhea, and night sweats. The presence of these may indicate an HIV infection. Not being able to know right away if your illness is minor or major is just one of the complications this virus carries. A person cannot determine themselves if he or she has the infection. So if you think you might, the best thing to do is to see a healthcare professional so that they can diagnose your condition. If a person has contracted the virus, these symptoms tend to become more severe over a period of time. Since AIDS is the last stage of a long period of HIV infection, the number of AIDS cases is like the tip of a very large iceberg. (refer to visual). Acute HIV infection progresses over time to asymptomatic HIV infection and later to advanced HIV or full blown AIDS. So as you can see HIV and AIDS are a fatal disease that can be easily contracted without much precaution. (Refer to visual)
The best ways to prevent and reduce the risks that are related to sex are: (1) sexual fidelty. It is unlikely that a monogamous couple will become infected with AIDS. (2) Practice safe sex. For example, the proper use of condoms is one imperative way of preventing this virus from entering oneâs body. (3) Careful selection of partners. In other words, do not have sex with just anybody. Make sure your partner has not had several sex partners, does not use intravenous drugs, and make sure its not someone who has had any sexually transmitted diseases. (4) Avoid multiple sex partners. Simple as that, the more sex partners a person has, the greater the chance of getting an HIV infection. And last but not least (5) sexual abstinence. This is the most certain way of not contracting AIDS. This is also the healthiest choice of all of the above. There are no worries of contracting any sexually transmitted diseases and people who are abstinent usually have fewer problems than those who get sexually involved too soon. Furthermore, the best way to prevent and reduce risks related to drug abuse is to not use intravenous drugs. The prevention of AIDS requires a lot of self discipline and strength of character. The requirements often seem personally restrictive but are very effective and can save your life.
In conclusion, researchers have found that AIDS is the worst end result of HIV. People with AIDS usually lead to death. Over 50% of persons diagnosed with AIDS in the US have died. Unfortunately there is still no cure for this disease and no one has completely recovered from AIDS. With this, I would just like to remind you that the exchange of this disease, be it through sexual contact, the exchange of blood, and the pregnancy and childbirth of an infected mother, can be easily contracted through careless action and no precaution. Also, the symptoms of this disease, if contracted, and its severity can easily go unnoticed since they are almost the same symptoms as the cold or flu. Therefore, prevention and taking more precaution by reducing risks related to sex and drugs is the essential key to staying healthy and, most importantly, HIV negative. Remember that making careful decisions and being cautious can save your life. Thank you for your time.
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