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Getting the message across : the mass media and the response to AIDS

JOINT UNITED NATIONS PROGRAMME ON HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
December 2005

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The mass media have the potential to provide a platform for discussion, communication and education on HIV and AIDS, giving a voice to people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), challenging stigma and discrimination, lobbying policy makers and building partnerships and capacity through sharing and transferring skills and expertise. However, mass media can also disseminate misleading messages, while HIV/AIDS communication competes with other topics for broadcasting time and audiences. This report presents three case studies of effective and creative use of the media in South Africa: Soul City and Soul Buddyz adopt an 'edutainment' approach, aiming both to educate and entertain; the Community Health Media Trust produces a series of programmes addressing issues concerning people with HIV/AIDS; Takalani makes television and radio programmes, to encourage small children to develop self-esteem, offer positive models and destigmatise PLWHA. Detailing the lessons learned from these experiences, the report looks at how target audiences are chosen, how partnerships are formed, how topics and ideas are developed and what ethical issues arise

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