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Making a difference

The Media and HIV/AIDS:
AIDS
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WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
The media and HIV/AIDS : making the difference.
1.HIV infections – prevention and control 2.Acquired immunodefciency syndrome –
prevention and control 3.Mass media – utilization 4.Television – utilization
5.Information dissemination 7.Predjuce 6.World health I.UNAIDS.

ISBN 92 9173 350 4 (NLM classifcation: WC 503.6)
Cover photo : MTV
Young people from around the world interacting with celebrities and AIDS experts during the launch of
the MTV Staying Alive campaign at the XIV International AIDS Conference
The media and HIV/AIDS
‘‘
When you are working to combat a disastrous and growing
emergency, you should use every tool at your disposal. HIV/AIDS is the
worst epidemic humanity has ever faced. It has spread further, faster and
with more catastrophic long-term effects than any other disease. Its impact
has become a devastating obstacle to development. Broadcast media have
tremendous reach and infuence, particularly with young people, who
represent the future and who are the key to any successful fght against
HIV/AIDS. We must seek to engage these powerful organizations as full
partners in the fght to halt HIV/AIDS through awareness, prevention,
and education.
’’
— Kof Annan, United Nations Secretary-General
5 The media and HIV/AIDS
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5 The media and HIV/AIDS
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The global HIV/AIDS epidemic
Today, 8,000 people will lose their lives to HIV/AIDS and another 14,000—10 people every
single minute—will become newly infected.
The realities of today’s global epidemic are graver than even the worst-case predictions of 10 years
ago. AIDS killed more than 3 million people in 2003 and an estimated 5 million more became
infected—bringing to some 40 million the number currently living
with the virus. More than 20 million have already died since the frst
clinical evidence of the disease was reported in 1981.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst-affected region of the world,
with one in fve adults across southern Africa now HIV-infected.
In countries such as Botswana and Swaziland, adult prevalence
is approaching 40%. In many areas, AIDS is erasing decades of
progress made in human development as young, productive people
die, households fall into poverty, and the costs of the epidemic
mount. Average life expectancy in the region has declined from 62
years to 47, and continues to fall.
In other parts of the world, the epidemic also shows no sign
of abating. Eastern Europe and Central Asia are experiencing
exponential expansions in levels of HIV infection, especially among
the young. More than 1 million people in Asia and the Pacifc
became HIV-positive last year, while, in Latin America and the
Caribbean, the epidemic is well entrenched; HIV/AIDS is a leading
cause of death in a number of countries in the Caribbean Basin.
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Posters on bus stops in New York for
the United Nations General Assembly
Special Session on HIV/AIDS
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7 The media and HIV/AIDS
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North America
790 000 – 1.2 million
Latin America
1.3 – 1.9 million
Eastern Europe & Central Asia
1.2 – 1.8 million
East Asia & Pa cifc
700 000 – 1.3 million
Caribbean
350 000 – 590 000
Australia
& New Zealand
12 000 – 18 000
Western Europe
520 000 – 680 000
South & South-East Asia
4.6 – 8.2 million
Sub-Saharan
Africa
25.0 – 28.2 million
North Africa
& Middle East
470 000 – 730 000
TOTAL: 34 Å 46 MILLION
ADULTS AND CHILDREN ESTIMATED TO BE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS, END 2003
Even in resource-rich nations such as the United States, where overall infection rates are relatively
low, there has been no decrease in the number of new infections in over a decade and, among
certain populations, HIV prevalence is increasing. A trend towards growing infection rates is
also evident in the Middle East and North Africa, challenging the notion that any region has
sidestepped the epidemic.
UNAIDS and WHO estimate that, without dramatic increases in HIV-prevention efforts, some
45 million new infections will occur worldwide by 2010.
Source: UNAIDS/WHO
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7 The media and HIV/AIDS
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Over the past three years, and in particular
since the adoption by all members of
the United Nations of a Declaration of
Commitment on HIV/AIDS in 2001, a
new momentum has resulted in greatly
increased resources and renewed political
commitment to fght the epidemic.
However, efforts still fall far short of what
is needed and much remains to be done
to reach the United Nations Millennium
Development Goal of halting and
beginning to reverse the spread of HIV
by 2015.
Reaching this target and substantially reducing the global impact of this devastating epidemic
requires collaboration from all sectors of society: educational institutions, government, religious
organizations, and the mass media.
In a landmark gathering in June 2001, Heads of State and Representatives of
Governments met at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on
HIV/AIDS and fashioned a set of global commitments for tackling the epidemic.
They affirmed, for example, that :
Beyond the key role played by communities, strong partnerships among governments, the
United Nations system,… people living with AIDS and vulnerable groups,… the media,
parliamentarians, foundations, community organisations and traditional leaders are
important (para. 32).
—From the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, adopted at the United Nations General
Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, 27 June 2001, New York.
Billboard from KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign
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9 The media and HIV/AIDS
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The media have a pivotal role to play in the fght against AIDS. It is often said that education
is the vaccine against HIV. Many media organizations are rising to the challenge by promoting
awareness of HIV/AIDS and educating listeners and viewers about the facts of the epidemic and
how to stop it.
According to national surveys conducted in the United States, 72% of Americans identify
television, radio and newspapers as their primary source of information about HIV/AIDS,
more than doctors, friends and family. Similar statistics have also been reported in the United
Kingdom and elsewhere in the world.
In a survey carried out in India more than 70% of respondents said they had received their
information about HIV/AIDS from television.
Clearly, media organizations have
an enormous infuence in educating
and empowering individuals to avoid
contracting HIV. Doing so with
maximum effciency, however, requires
a clear understanding of the challenges
and the obstacles to widespread and
effective HIV-prevention education.
The media: a response to HIV/AIDS
Recording the Tinka Tinka Suhk, radio soap
opera, India
Richard Stanley
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9 The media and HIV/AIDS
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Widespread lack of awareness
Levels of awareness of, and knowledge
about, HIV/AIDS vary widely
around the world. According to
recent surveys from over 40 countries,
more than half of young people most
at risk—those aged 15–24—have
serious misconceptions about how the
virus is transmitted.
A surprising number of people,
especially the young, have simply
never heard of HIV. In 21 African
countries, more than 60% of young
women, for example, have either
never heard of the virus or have at
least one major misconception about how it is spread. In Lesotho, a country with a very high
HIV prevalence rate, only 2 out of 10 girls have suffcient knowledge about it. While most young
women in Ukraine have heard of HIV/AIDS, only about 10% can correctly identify the three
primary ways to avoid infection: abstinence, fdelity and consistent condom use.
At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001,
governments of the world agreed that they would:
By 2005, ensure that 90%, and, by 2010, 95% of youth aged 15–24 have information,
education, services and life skills that enable them to reduce their vulnerability to HIV
infection (para. 53).
—From the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, adopted at the United Nations General
Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, 27 June 2001, New York.
Credit photo
World AIDS Day activities in Ukraine
UNAIDS/ Liba Taylor
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11 The media and HIV/AIDS
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Even after 20 years, misconceptions abound. In Latin America and the Caribbean—a region
severely affected by HIV—there are still large numbers of people who are not well informed. A
study in the United States in the year 2000 found that 40% of respondents thought they could
contract HIV from sharing a drinking glass, and a similar number believed the virus could be
airborne and transmitted through a cough. A quarter of adults in the United Kingdom—more
than 10 million people—feel they do not know enough about how the risks of HIV could
potentially relate to them.
Most know little about HIV prevention
Percentage of young women (aged 15–19) who have heard of AIDS and % who know the three
primary ways of avoiding infection*
Source: UNICEF/MICS, Measure DHS, 1999-2001.
*Three primary ways (ABC): Abstinence; Be faithful; Consistent condom use
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11 The media and HIV/AIDS
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The triangle of denial, stigma and discrimination
Beyond lack of information, there is also denial. Many people in all parts of the world have not
yet accepted that the risk of contracting HIV applies to them. For instance, more than 90%
of adolescents in Haiti believe they have a tiny or non-existent risk of contracting it, while the
nation actually has one of the highest prevalence rates outside sub-Saharan Africa.
Denial about the virus exists on both personal and societal levels. Many continue to believe that
AIDS is an issue for ‘others’. Equally damaging to the effort to disseminate factual information
about the epidemic is the belief, widespread in a number of societies, that HIV/AIDS is something
that happens to people who are immoral and socially deviant. In addition to strengthening the
stigma and discrimination that keep many from seeking information or help if they are infected,
these beliefs promote denial, allowing many in society to distance themselves from the realities of
the epidemic, and therefore to be lulled into a false sense of security.
‘Joseph’, a character
in the Soul City soap
opera overcomes
discrimination because
of his HIV status,
South Africa
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13 The media and HIV/AIDS
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Passions and responses evoked by fear and misunderstanding over HIV/AIDS can be extreme.
According to one Ukrainian quoted in a UNICEF report, “Sex workers and drug users are
perverted elements of society …HIV/AIDS is a disease of the depraved”.
Such a reaction is all too common. In a UK survey, 57% of respondents said those who became
infected through unprotected sex “only have themselves to blame”. Nearly 20% of respondents
in the US also believed that people who acquired HIV through sex or drug use had got what they
deserved.
These attitudes towards HIV/AIDS fuel both offcial and unoffcial discrimination. Infected
individuals, or those perceived to be at risk, have been shunned by their communities, have been
denied access to services or health care, and have lost their job. Children have been forced out of
schools. The results of stigma and discrimination can be far-reaching. According to UNAIDS,
they are the “greatest barriers to preventing further infections, providing adequate care, support
and treatment and alleviating impact”.

The impact of gender inequality
Around the world, women are increasingly at risk from HIV and bear the brunt of stigma and
discrimination. Because women often lack freedom of choice, they sometimes fnd it harder to
avoid HIV infection. Many women may be aware of what they should do to protect themselves,
but are unable to take precautions because of powerlessness, economic dependence on their
At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001,
governments of the world affirmed that :
Stigma, silence, discrimination and denial, as well as lack of confdentiality, undermine
prevention, care and treatment efforts and increase the impact of the epidemic on individuals,
families, communities and nations (para.13).
—From the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, adopted at the United Nations General
Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, 27 June 2001, New York.
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13 The media and HIV/AIDS
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partners and fear of violence if they refuse sex. Rape is also often a reality. Nearly 50% of young
women in 9 Caribbean countries have said that their frst sexual intercourse was forced.
Other women, for whom violence is not a factor, may feel that it is simply their duty to please
their man, even to the detriment of their own well-being. Reversing rising HIV infection rates in
women will require addressing these fundamental issues concerning how men and women relate
to one another.
According to one Kenyan husband quoted in a book by the NGO Panos, AIDS and Men: Taking
Risks or Taking Responsibility?, “I am the lion of the house and my wife does not have the right to
say no”. Given such attitudes, women are at high risk of infection.
Women are especially
vulnerable to HIV/AIDS

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What the media can do
There are a number of things that the media can do to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS infection, and
indeed many organizations are already engaged in successful efforts to both raise awareness and
promote sustainable behaviour change to reduce vulnerability to the virus.

Talking about it
One of the most obvious roles of media is to open channels of communication and foster
discussion about HIV and interpersonal relationships.
Addressing HIV/AIDS in entertainment programmes can have an enormous impact on a society
at risk. A number of researchers have noted
that the Radio Tanzania soap opera Twende
na Wakati (Let’s Go with the Times), which was
frst broadcast in 1993, has greatly increased
listeners’ willingness to discuss issues related to
the virus. In short, the show got people talking.
After the programme had been aired for several
seasons, evaluations reported that 65% of
respondents said they had spoken to someone
about Twende na Wakati and more than 8 in 10
reported having adopted an HIV-prevention
measure as a result of listening to the show.
Uganda has dramatically reduced its HIV
infection rate, primarily through efforts to
encourage frank and open discussion of the
disease, its causes, and how to prevent it.
The media have helped facilitate this discourse.
Young people reading Straight Talk, a youth newspaper, Kenya
UNAIDS/G Pirozzi
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15 The media and HIV/AIDS
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Ugandan experts believe that the simple act of talking has made a profound difference to the course
of the country’s epidemic. The fact that President Yoweri Museveni has allowed a free discussion on
HIV/AIDS in the media, among organizations and in civil society is cited as a key element of the
country’s success in reversing the epidemic.
This discussion has been promoted and
fostered across genders and generations, with
men and women encouraged to talk to each
other and to their sons and daughters.
There are numerous examples of Ugandans
being given space to discuss HIV/AIDS.
The Straight Talk Foundation, which has
a strong media department, fosters an
environment in which young people can
explore delicate and intimate issues. The
foundation publishes a range of newspapers
and also produces a weekly radio programme
in English and a number of local languages.
Through these popular shows, made by and
for young people, listeners can hear their
peers discuss sex and relationships in a clear and straigthforward manner, as well as how to keep
themselves safe.

Creating a supportive and enabling environment
Mass media can be instrumental in breaking the silence that surrounds the disease and in creating
an environment that encourages discussion of how individuals can protect themselves and change
their behaviour, if necessary. While this may mean combating existing social norms, values and
conditions, it is not necessarily as diffcult and daunting as it might appear. There are numerous
examples in which media interventions have made positive changes in society. For instance, the
Indian village, Lutsaan, turned its back on the dowry system after listening communally to a radio
soap opera broadcast on All India Radio called Tinka Tinka Sukh (Little steps to a Better Life).
The radio soap opera Tinka Tinka Sukh being tested on
an audience in Kerala, India
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The popular South African soap opera, Soul City, developed by an NGO, the Soul City Institute
of Health and Development Communication, has been aired by the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC) since 1994. It has brought about social policy change at a national level. The
series, which primarily deals with HIV/AIDS, also examined domestic violence in its fourth run,
when one character, a respected teacher, abused his wife. Advocacy pressure from Soul City and The
National Network on Violence against Women, a grass-roots coalition of activists, led to the swift
implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in 1999. Government departments acknowledged
that their actions were infuenced by the media campaign.
In each of these examples, broadcasters broke new ground and challenged what had previously
been socially acceptable, in ways that did not alienate, but rather attracted, audiences.

Challenging stigma and discrimination
HIV-related stigma and discrimination are major barriers
to effective prevention and, in fact, have been identifed as
major risk factors for HIV transmission. A number of media
campaigns have focused on the need to overcome prejudice
and encourage solidarity with people who are infected with,
or affected by, the virus.
South Africa’s Sesame Street, known as Takalani Sesame,
has demonstrated that it is never too early to challenge
HIV/AIDS-related stigma. Kami (the Tswana word for
‘acceptance’) is an energetic and lively golden muppet with
ginger hair, who joined the show in September 2002. Kami
also happens to be HIV-positive. The show has included
storylines wherein Kami has had to cope with being
ostracized at school because of her status but has overcome
the prejudice of her friends and taught them the value of
tolerance.
The UN Secretary-General appears
with Kami, the HIV-positive muppet, in a
public service message

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Promoting HIV/AIDS services
Collaboration between broadcasters, grass-roots organizations, service providers and government
agencies can help to ensure that vital services, such as counselling and testing, condom provision,
and even treatment and care, are available on the ground.
The weekly award-winning television soap SIDA dans la Cité (AIDS in the City), produced in Côte
d’Ivoire and shown on Ivorian Radio and Television (RTI) and across French West Africa, is a good
example of how the promotion of condoms can be linked directly to their subsequent availability.
The series revolves around the life of a family affected by HIV/AIDS and is produced as the key
part of a condom social marketing campaign by Population Services International (PSI), Côte
d’Ivoire and a local partner. PSI promotes condom use through the programme and makes sure that
condoms are available to the audience. A survey found that those who had seen 10 or more episodes
of the show were signifcantly more likely to have used a
condom than were non-viewers.
Broadcasters can also join with partners to educate about
HIV/AIDS and publicize the availability of services.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, partners
with top media companies, such as Black Entertainment
Television and Univision, the leading Spanish-
language television company in the United States, to
reach key populations – African American and Latino
youths, respectively. These extensive public education
partnerships promote dedicated toll-free hotlines and
websites to direct viewers seeking more information to
local HIV counselors or testing centers. Collectively,
these efforts connect hundreds of thousands of young
people with services every year.
Billboard produced by the Health Promotion Department,
Malta
UNAIDS/Stefan Attard
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19 The media and HIV/AIDS
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Educating and entertaining
To be effective, messaging about HIV/AIDS must be both educational and entertaining. These
two goals should not be mutually exclusive. A number of programmes have served to inform
their audiences about the virus while, at the same time, achieving market success.
In India, Doordarshan, the national television service, the National AIDS Control Organisation
(NACO) and the BBC World Service Trust, (the international development arm of the British
Broadcasting Corporation), joined forces in 2002 to launch the country’s frst-ever mass
media campaign to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS. The campaign has been largely based on
education through entertainment, with two key strands being the popular interactive detective
series Jasoos (Detective)Vijay and the award-winning weekly ‘reality’ youth show, Haath se Haath
Milaa (Let’s Join Hands).
Publicity for Jasoos (Detective) Vijay and Haath se
Haath Milaa (Let’s Join Hands), television serials,
India
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Both programmes have proved popular with audiences and Jasoos Vijay was voted ‘Best Thriller
Series’ in the prestigious Indian Television Awards 2003. Viewers are therefore given information
about the virus and how to protect themselves while watching an enjoyable programme at
the same time. For example, according to an independent survey, 85% of respondents to the
campaign said they had learned something new and almost a third said they had discussed
messages with friends.
In Brazil, home of the extraordinarily popular ‘telenovela’, or television soap opera, the TV
Globo company placed an HIV-themed serial at the heart of its programme schedule. Malhaçao
(Working Out), dealing with issues facing young people in Brazil, captured huge audiences
when its teenage protagonist learned that she was HIV-positive. The move by the Brazilian
Government to begin distribution of free antiretroviral drugs was also mirrored in Malhaçao’s
storyline. When dramatized in a compelling manner, ‘socially responsible’ soap operas can attract
and help to educate large numbers of viewers and listeners.
One of the most keenly watched programmes in Nicaragua is Sexto Sentido (Sixth Sense), a hard-hitting
‘social soap opera’ that tackles issues
such as sexuality, rape, domestic
violence and substance abuse. It
reaches 80% of 13–17-year-olds
and is the highest-rated show in its
time slot.
South Africa’s loveLife campaign,
launched in late1999, combines
a highly visible and sustained
multi-media awareness and
education campaign with
development of youth friendly services and support programmes countrywide. loveLife is able to
greatly extend the scale and scope of its media campaign through cost-sharing partnerships with
key media organizations. The South African Broadcasting Corporation is loveLife’s broadcast
Campaign material targeting youth, South Africa
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partner providing extensive radio and
television airtime, as well as co-production
funding. Respondents in a national survey
of youth reported changes in their sexual
behaviour, including greater abstinence, delay
of sexual debut and increased condom use,
as a result of this programming. More than
three quarters said loveLife had made them
aware of the risks involved in unprotected sex.
There are numerous examples of other
programmes around the world that have
echoed this success. For example, NHK, the
national television network in Japan, aired
a serial called Kamisama Mo Sukoshidake
(Please God, Just a Little More Time) that revolved around a schoolgirl who was HIV-infected after
becoming a sex worker. During the programme’s run, the number of HIV tests and requests for
counselling more than doubled in Japan.
In China, CCTV and a number of partners, including PCI (Population Communications
International), have brought the soap opera Bai Xing (Ordinary People) to millions of viewers. They
have been able to follow the struggles of Lüye and her family as they tackle many issues, not least of
which are the problems brought by HIV/AIDS. Bai Xing has proved a popular and award-winning
show.
Broadcasters have also encouraged audiences to become actively involved in combating HIV/AIDS
themselves. The French company, TV5, has played an integral role in promoting the Scenarios
from Africa competition in which young people are asked to submit a proposal for a short flm on
AIDS. The winning concept is produced and aired by several national and international networks,
including TV5. This competition refects the company’s policy of placing African voices at the very
heart of its coverage of the epidemic.
Shooting of Bai Xing soap opera, CCTV, China
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Mainstreaming
Broadcasters are ‘mainstreaming’ the HIV issue across a number of programmes, ensuring that
the message permeates a diverse range of output, not just outlets and public service messages
dedicated specifcally to the issue. The fact that the virus affects all sections of society and all
walks of life is subtly reinforced if it is explored in this way. As a result, many people who might
not necessarily pay much attention to a traditional AIDS campaign, or who would not choose to
watch AIDS programming, are nevertheless exposed to HIV-related education messages.
The most effective media initiatives on HIV have many outlets. A coordinated, multifaceted
campaign has greater impact than a single programme. A number of companies have
implemented this model to great effect. Documentaries, news items, concerts, public service
announcements, competitions, hotlines, books and websites can all be linked together to
reinforce awareness, information and messages about HIV-related attitudes and behaviour.
For example Viacom, under its KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign partnership with the Kaiser Family
Foundation, utilizes all the company’s properties to disseminate information about HIV/AIDS,
including targeted public service messages on television,
radio and outdoor, integrated messages in TV shows, special
programming, in-store and in-product advertising, as well as
complementary online and print resources. In the frst two
years alone, Viacom will have committed more than US$240
million in media space across its properties to the effort.
Billboard from KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign
Viacom
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Putting HIV/AIDS on the news agenda and
encouraging leaders to take action
Another key area for media involvement in AIDS education efforts is ensuring that the topic is
kept at the top of the news agenda. In recent years, several leading broadcasters from around the
world have found innovative ways to report on the epidemic.
The BBC World Service launched a two-week season of programming, including news reports,
documentaries, and online coverage of the epidemic to mark World AIDS Day 2003. The
company’s high-profle interviews with several world leaders and celebrities, along with phone-ins
and ‘webchats’ with other public fgures, generated broad coverage of HIV for audiences around
the world.
The Chinese national station, China Central Television (CCTV), broadcast some 230 news
items on HIV/AIDS in the frst 10 months of 2003.
Since 1996, Spain’s Radiotelevision Espanola (RTVE) has also worked to keep discussion of the
virus in the public domain. Each year, this has led to two months of special programming, aimed
at raising awareness, in the lead-up to World AIDS Day.
In the US, the Time Warner network, HBO, broadcast a fve-part documentary series in the
summer of 2003 entitled Pandemic: Facing AIDS. CNN has also run a special season of HIV-
related programming, which included a large news component.
The NTV Channel and the radio station Echo of Moscow (Gazprom) have also ensured that
the virus has received widespread coverage and been kept near the top of the news agenda,
whether through medical news programmes, reports about the epidemic, radio call-ins or studio
discussions.
Metro TV in Indonesia has consistently broadcast HIV/AIDS-related news and featured
comment and analysis about the epidemic in talk-shows and documentaries.
The media and HIV/AIDS 22
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Mounting an effective global response to AIDS is clearly an expensive challenge, and insuffcient
resources have been invested in this effort to date. In ensuring that HIV remains ‘headline news’,
broadcasters play a vital role in encouraging world leaders and policy-makers to take the epidemic
seriously and provide the resources necessary to fund adequate prevention and treatment
programmes.
A virtuous circle should result: the more leaders see about HIV in the news, the greater the
resources they invest in anti-AIDS
strategies, which in turn leads to
increased media coverage of the issue
and helps to sustain public awareness,
which, again, has an impact on leaders’
priorities.

Sharing resources,
pooling material
Several successful campaigns have
benefted from, and fully utilized, the
opportunity of pooling resources with
other outlets by sharing expertise and
material.
MTV Staying Alive, the global, multi-
partnership, mass media campaign targeting young people, has consistently offered its products
rights-free to all other broadcasters. In 2002, this facility resulted in Staying Alive programmes
being aired on television stations serving some 800 million households worldwide when
rebroadcasts on CCTV were added. In 2003, the documentary Meeting Mandela was watched
across the world and the 46664 concert, launched by Nelson Mandela in association with
MTV Staying Alive and other partners, reached up to 2 billion viewers, thanks in part to MTV
Credit photo
Staying Alive ‘Clinton Uncut’: former US President Bill Clinton debates
HIV/AIDS issues with young people.
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25 The media and HIV/AIDS
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encouraging rebroadcasts of the concert on other
networks.
Broadcasters can also build partnerships to fully
exploit their combined audiences and expertise.
Viacom and BBC joined forces to develop
messages in Africa and the Caribbean, providing
a strong example of two major international
broadcasters harnessing their collective resources
and reach to bring awareness spots and longer-
format programmes to millions of viewers and
listeners from a diverse range of regions and
backgrounds.

Capacity-building
Successful partnerships need not necessarily be with other media outlets. Broad, symbiotic
alliances with NGOs, government departments and foundations, for instance, can bring
signifcant benefts for both parties. Broadcasters can trade resources with campaign partners,
such as access to airtime, and in return receive the expertise that partners have to offer on HIV
advocacy. Creative teams on drama series can be briefed about useful messages and how a specifc
audience might be reached, while editors, producers and reporters can be advised about the most
pressing and relevant aspects of the HIV issue from a news perspective.
Again, as a result of the KNOW HIV/AIDS partnership, the Kaiser Family Foundation have
offered the broadcaster expertise in terms of pinpointing key messages, giving access to up-to-
date accurate information and building HIV knowledge within creative media teams.
Nelson Mandela interacts with young people in
MTV Staying Alive Special –‘Meeting Mandela’
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Conclusion:
The mass media are clearly vital in the world’s fght against the virus. Broadcasters are already
undertaking impressive work on HIV, but much more needs to be done. The media can make
AIDS programming a key part of their output and, indeed, their corporate strategy. This can be
done in a number of ways, including the following:

Giving the epidemic prominent news coverage

Dedicating airtime/space to HIV/AIDS public service messages

Supporting the broadcasting of HIV/AIDS special programming

Supporting the development of AIDS storylines in existing programming

Making public service messages and original programming available to other outlets
on a rights-free basis
The task at hand requires vision, dedication and, above all, creative programming that truly engages
audiences. Broadcasters can talk to listeners and viewers about HIV in a language they understand,
appreciate and fnd entertaining.
They can build partnerships and
alliances. They can put pressure
on the powerful to take the
disease seriously and give people
the information they need to
protect themselves and those they
love. In short, the media have an
essential role to play in reversing
the progression of HIV.
Filming Haath se Haath Milaa, youth
programme, India
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Fighting HIV/AIDS — a corporate priority
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
2400 Sand Hill Road – Menlo Park, CA 94025 – Telephone: 650.854.9400 – Fax: 650.854.4800
Washington Offce:
1330 G Street, N.W. – Washington, DC 20005 – Telephone: 202.347.5270 – Fax: 202.347.5274 – Internet: http://www.kff.org
Gionai Mioia Ixiriarivi
AIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
UNAIDS – 20 avenue Appia – 1211 Geneva 27 – Switzerland
Telephone: (+41 22) 791 36 66 – Fax: (+41 22) 791 41 87 – E-mail: unaids@unaids.org – Internet: http://www.unaids.org

Cover photo : MTV Young people from around the world interacting with celebrities and AIDS experts during the launch of the MTV Staying Alive campaign at the XIV International AIDS Conference

UNAIDS/03.58E (English original, January 2004)
© Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 2004. All rights reserved. Publications produced by UNAIDS can be obtained from the UNAIDS Information Centre. Requests for permission to reproduce or translate UNAIDS publications—whether for sale or for noncommercial distribution—should also be addressed to the Information Centre at the address below, or by fax, at +41 22 791 4187, or e-mail: publicationpermissions@ unaids.org. The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNAIDS concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers’ products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by UNAIDS in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. Errors and omissions excepted, the names of proprietary products are distinguished by initial capital letters. UNAIDS does not warrant that the information contained in this publication is complete and correct and shall not be liable for any damages incurred as a result of its use.

WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data The media and HIV/AIDS : making the difference. 1.HIV infections – prevention and control 2.Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – prevention and control 3.Mass media – utilization 4.Television – utilization 5.Information dissemination 7.Predjuce 6.World health I.UNAIDS. ISBN 92 9173 350 4 (NLM classification: WC 503.6)

UNAIDS – 20 avenue Appia – 1211 Geneva 27 – Switzerland Telephone: (+41) 22 791 36 66 – Fax: (+41) 22 791 41 87 E-mail: unaids@unaids.org – Internet: http://www.unaids.org

HIV/AIDS is the worst epidemic humanity has ever faced.The media and HIV/AIDS emergency. you should use every tool at your disposal. Its impact has become a devastating obstacle to development. United Nations Secretary-General . who represent the future and who are the key to any successful fight against HIV/AIDS. and education. We must seek to engage these powerful organizations as full partners in the fight to halt HIV/AIDS through awareness. faster and with more catastrophic long-term effects than any other disease. prevention. ‘‘ When you are working to combat a disastrous and growing ’’ — Kofi Annan. particularly with young people. It has spread further. Broadcast media have tremendous reach and influence.

.

More than 1 million people in Asia and the Pacific became HIV-positive last year. 5 The media and HIV/AIDS . the epidemic is well entrenched. with one in five adults across southern Africa now HIV-infected.000 people will lose their lives to HIV/AIDS and another 14. households fall into poverty. and the costs of the epidemic mount. productive people die. In many areas. in Latin America and the Caribbean. UNAIDS / R. The realities of today’s global epidemic are graver than even the worst-case predictions of 10 years ago.Bowman Posters on bus stops in New York for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS In other parts of the world. More than 20 million have already died since the first clinical evidence of the disease was reported in 1981. 8. and continues to fall. HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death in a number of countries in the Caribbean Basin.UNAIDS The global HIV/AIDS epidemic Today. AIDS is erasing decades of progress made in human development as young. AIDS killed more than 3 million people in 2003 and an estimated 5 million more became infected—bringing to some 40 million the number currently living with the virus. while. adult prevalence is approaching 40%. especially among the young. In countries such as Botswana and Swaziland. Average life expectancy in the region has declined from 62 years to 47. the epidemic also shows no sign of abating.000—10 people every single minute—will become newly infected. Eastern Europe and Central Asia are experiencing exponential expansions in levels of HIV infection. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst-affected region of the world.

END 2003 Western Europe Eastern Europe & Central Asia 790 000 – 1. The media and HIV/AIDS 6 . where overall infection rates are relatively low.3 – 1. without dramatic increases in HIV-prevention efforts. among certain populations. A trend towards growing infection rates is also evident in the Middle East and North Africa.0 – 28. HIV prevalence is increasing.2 million Caribbean North America 520 000 – 680 000 North Africa & Middle East 1.9 million 25.8 million 700 000 – 1.2 million 12 000 – 18 000 Australia & New Zealand TOTAL: 34 Å 46 MILLION Source: UNAIDS/WHO Even in resource-rich nations such as the United States.3 million South & South-East Asia East Asia & Pacific 350 000 – 590 000 Latin America 470 000 – 730 000 Sub-Saharan Africa 4. challenging the notion that any region has sidestepped the epidemic.6 – 8. some 45 million new infections will occur worldwide by 2010. UNAIDS and WHO estimate that.2 – 1.2 million 1.UNAIDS ADULTS AND CHILDREN ESTIMATED TO BE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS. there has been no decrease in the number of new infections in over a decade and.

New York. Reaching this target and substantially reducing the global impact of this devastating epidemic requires collaboration from all sectors of society: educational institutions. that : Beyond the key role played by communities. for example. and in particular since the adoption by all members of the United Nations of a Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS in 2001. 32). In a landmark gathering in June 2001. adopted at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. a new momentum has resulted in greatly increased resources and renewed political commitment to fight the epidemic. religious organizations. However. —From the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. community organisations and traditional leaders are important (para. government. the United Nations system. strong partnerships among governments.… people living with AIDS and vulnerable groups.UNAIDS Over the past three years. 7 The media and HIV/AIDS Viacom . Heads of State and Representatives of Governments met at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS and fashioned a set of global commitments for tackling the epidemic. 27 June 2001. They affirmed. and the mass media.… the media. efforts still fall far short of what is needed and much remains to be done to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halting and Billboard from KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign beginning to reverse the spread of HIV by 2015. parliamentarians. foundations.

Doing so with maximum efficiency. Richard Stanley Recording the Tinka Tinka Suhk. more than doctors. however. India The media and HIV/AIDS 8 .UNAIDS The media: a response to HIV/AIDS The media have a pivotal role to play in the fight against AIDS. radio soap opera. Clearly. Many media organizations are rising to the challenge by promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS and educating listeners and viewers about the facts of the epidemic and how to stop it. radio and newspapers as their primary source of information about HIV/AIDS. Similar statistics have also been reported in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world. requires a clear understanding of the challenges and the obstacles to widespread and effective HIV-prevention education. It is often said that education is the vaccine against HIV. media organizations have an enormous influence in educating and empowering individuals to avoid contracting HIV. friends and family. In a survey carried out in India more than 70% of respondents said they had received their information about HIV/AIDS from television. 72% of Americans identify television. According to national surveys conducted in the United States.

by 2010. services and life skills that enable them to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection (para. have either never heard of the virus or have at least one major misconception about how it is spread. and knowledge about. only about 10% can correctly identify the three primary ways to avoid infection: abstinence. In 21 African countries. have simply never heard of HIV. 9 The media and HIV/AIDS . a country with a very high HIV prevalence rate. According to recent surveys from over 40 countries. education. more than half of young people most at risk—those aged 15–24—have serious misconceptions about how the virus is transmitted. 53). ensure that 90%. 95% of youth aged 15–24 have information. New York. adopted at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. In Lesotho. 27 June 2001. governments of the world agreed that they would: By 2005. HIV/AIDS vary widely around the world. At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001. only 2 out of 10 girls have sufficient knowledge about it. —From the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. for example. more than 60% of young World AIDS Day activities in Ukraine women. and.UNAIDS • Widespread lack of awareness Levels of awareness of. While most young women in Ukraine have heard of HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS/ Liba Taylor Credit photo A surprising number of people. fidelity and consistent condom use. especially the young.

In Latin America and the Caribbean—a region severely affected by HIV—there are still large numbers of people who are not well informed. Measure DHS. Consistent condom use Source: UNICEF/MICS. of Moldova U. misconceptions abound.UNAIDS Percentage of young women (aged 15–19) who have heard of AIDS and % who know the three primary ways of avoiding infection* 100 84 85 85 76 77 67 88 90 91 97 95 95 96 96 93 93 93 94 99 99 99 Most know little about HIV prevention 75 67 59 57 58 69 73 54 54 56 50 41 33 41 44 38 33 27 19 29 20 16 9 38 36 30 46 Knowledge (%) 50 Heard of AIDS 26 28 23 24 15 9 5 24 22 14 25 Know the three main ways of avoiding infection 1 0 Madagascar Viet Nam Guinea Bissau Comoros Somalia Lesotho Kenya Cambodia Rep. of Tanzania Bosnia and Herzegovina Côte d'Ivoire Suriname Senegal Trinidad and Tobago Dominican Republic Yugoslavia (FR) Botswana Uzbekistan Azerbaijan Sierra Leone Gambia Cameroon Guyana Ukraine Chad Niger Bolivia Cuba *Three primary ways (ABC): Abstinence. 1999-2001. A quarter of adults in the United Kingdom—more than 10 million people—feel they do not know enough about how the risks of HIV could potentially relate to them. A study in the United States in the year 2000 found that 40% of respondents thought they could contract HIV from sharing a drinking glass. and a similar number believed the virus could be airborne and transmitted through a cough. Be faithful. The media and HIV/AIDS 10 . Rep. Even after 20 years.

stigma and discrimination Beyond lack of information. these beliefs promote denial. more than 90% of adolescents in Haiti believe they have a tiny or non-existent risk of contracting it. Denial about the virus exists on both personal and societal levels. there is also denial. a character in the Soul City soap opera overcomes discrimination because of his HIV status. Many people in all parts of the world have not yet accepted that the risk of contracting HIV applies to them. South Africa • The triangle of denial. widespread in a number of societies. allowing many in society to distance themselves from the realities of the epidemic. Many continue to believe that AIDS is an issue for ‘others’. Equally damaging to the effort to disseminate factual information about the epidemic is the belief. while the nation actually has one of the highest prevalence rates outside sub-Saharan Africa. that HIV/AIDS is something that happens to people who are immoral and socially deviant. 11 The media and HIV/AIDS . and therefore to be lulled into a false sense of security. For instance. In addition to strengthening the stigma and discrimination that keep many from seeking information or help if they are infected.UNAIDS Soul City Institute of Health and Development Communication ‘Joseph’.

economic dependence on their The media and HIV/AIDS 12 . care and treatment efforts and increase the impact of the epidemic on individuals. as well as lack of confidentiality. they sometimes find it harder to avoid HIV infection. have been denied access to services or health care. communities and nations (para. have been shunned by their communities. According to one Ukrainian quoted in a UNICEF report. “Sex workers and drug users are perverted elements of society …HIV/AIDS is a disease of the depraved”. According to UNAIDS. and have lost their job. The results of stigma and discrimination can be far-reaching. families. • The impact of gender inequality Around the world. they are the “greatest barriers to preventing further infections. silence. 27 June 2001. At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001. support and treatment and alleviating impact”.13). but are unable to take precautions because of powerlessness. These attitudes towards HIV/AIDS fuel both official and unofficial discrimination. Many women may be aware of what they should do to protect themselves. providing adequate care. Nearly 20% of respondents in the US also believed that people who acquired HIV through sex or drug use had got what they deserved. 57% of respondents said those who became infected through unprotected sex “only have themselves to blame”. or those perceived to be at risk. governments of the world affirmed that : Stigma. Such a reaction is all too common. New York.UNAIDS Passions and responses evoked by fear and misunderstanding over HIV/AIDS can be extreme. —From the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. adopted at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. Because women often lack freedom of choice. undermine prevention. discrimination and denial. In a UK survey. Children have been forced out of schools. women are increasingly at risk from HIV and bear the brunt of stigma and discrimination. Infected individuals.

Nearly 50% of young women in 9 Caribbean countries have said that their first sexual intercourse was forced. “I am the lion of the house and my wife does not have the right to say no”. Reversing rising HIV infection rates in women will require addressing these fundamental issues concerning how men and women relate to one another. Rape is also often a reality. even to the detriment of their own well-being. may feel that it is simply their duty to please their man. for whom violence is not a factor. 13 The media and HIV/AIDS . AIDS and Men: Taking Risks or Taking Responsibility?. According to one Kenyan husband quoted in a book by the NGO Panos.UNAIDS/Chris Sattlberger UNAIDS Women are especially vulnerable to HIV/AIDS partners and fear of violence if they refuse sex. women are at high risk of infection. Given such attitudes. Other women.

its causes. • Talking about it One of the most obvious roles of media is to open channels of communication and foster discussion about HIV and interpersonal relationships. and how to prevent it.UNAIDS What the media can do There are a number of things that the media can do to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS infection. After the programme had been aired for several seasons. The media have helped facilitate this discourse. which was first broadcast in 1993. The media and HIV/AIDS UNAIDS/G Pirozzi Young people reading Straight Talk. Addressing HIV/AIDS in entertainment programmes can have an enormous impact on a society at risk. evaluations reported that 65% of respondents said they had spoken to someone about Twende na Wakati and more than 8 in 10 reported having adopted an HIV-prevention measure as a result of listening to the show. and indeed many organizations are already engaged in successful efforts to both raise awareness and promote sustainable behaviour change to reduce vulnerability to the virus. has greatly increased listeners’ willingness to discuss issues related to the virus. the show got people talking. a youth newspaper. A number of researchers have noted that the Radio Tanzania soap opera Twende na Wakati (Let’s Go with the Times). Kenya 14 . primarily through efforts to encourage frank and open discussion of the disease. Uganda has dramatically reduced its HIV infection rate. In short.

India Through these popular shows. fosters an environment in which young people can explore delicate and intimate issues. There are numerous examples in which media interventions have made positive changes in society. The foundation publishes a range of newspapers and also produces a weekly radio programme in English and a number of local languages. The fact that President Yoweri Museveni has allowed a free discussion on HIV/AIDS in the media. as well as how to keep themselves safe. the Indian village. values and conditions. made by and for young people. For instance. among organizations and in civil society is cited as a key element of the country’s success in reversing the epidemic. listeners can hear their peers discuss sex and relationships in a clear and straigthforward manner. with men and women encouraged to talk to each other and to their sons and daughters. This discussion has been promoted and fostered across genders and generations. There are numerous examples of Ugandans being given space to discuss HIV/AIDS. Lutsaan. The Straight Talk Foundation. if necessary. it is not necessarily as difficult and daunting as it might appear. While this may mean combating existing social norms. The radio soap opera Tinka Tinka Sukh being tested on an audience in Kerala. 15 The media and HIV/AIDS .UNAIDS Ugandan experts believe that the simple act of talking has made a profound difference to the course of the country’s epidemic. which has a strong media department. turned its back on the dowry system after listening communally to a radio soap opera broadcast on All India Radio called Tinka Tinka Sukh (Little steps to a Better Life). Richard Stanley • Creating a supportive and enabling environment Mass media can be instrumental in breaking the silence that surrounds the disease and in creating an environment that encourages discussion of how individuals can protect themselves and change their behaviour.

the virus. has demonstrated that it is never too early to challenge HIV/AIDS-related stigma. Soul City. when one character. Kami also happens to be HIV-positive. The series. or affected by. It has brought about social policy change at a national level. Advocacy pressure from Soul City and The National Network on Violence against Women. the HIV-positive muppet. audiences. South Africa’s Sesame Street. developed by an NGO. has been aired by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) since 1994. abused his wife. in ways that did not alienate. Kami (the Tswana word for ‘acceptance’) is an energetic and lively golden muppet with ginger hair. but rather attracted. broadcasters broke new ground and challenged what had previously been socially acceptable. A number of media campaigns have focused on the need to overcome prejudice and encourage solidarity with people who are infected with. a grass-roots coalition of activists. Government departments acknowledged that their actions were influenced by the media campaign. • Challenging stigma and discrimination HIV-related stigma and discrimination are major barriers to effective prevention and. also examined domestic violence in its fourth run. the Soul City Institute of Health and Development Communication. who joined the show in September 2002. known as Takalani Sesame.UNAIDS The popular South African soap opera. which primarily deals with HIV/AIDS. in a public service message The media and HIV/AIDS Takalani Sesame . led to the swift implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in 1999. in fact. 16 The UN Secretary-General appears with Kami. In each of these examples. have been identified as major risk factors for HIV transmission. The show has included storylines wherein Kami has had to cope with being ostracized at school because of her status but has overcome the prejudice of her friends and taught them the value of tolerance. a respected teacher.

are available on the ground. is a good example of how the promotion of condoms can be linked directly to their subsequent availability. Collectively. Billboard produced by the Health Promotion Department. the leading Spanishlanguage television company in the United States. to reach key populations – African American and Latino youths.UNAIDS • Promoting HIV/AIDS services Collaboration between broadcasters. PSI promotes condom use through the programme and makes sure that condoms are available to the audience. these efforts connect hundreds of thousands of young people with services every year. such as counselling and testing. respectively. Côte d’Ivoire and a local partner. condom provision. for example. service providers and government agencies can help to ensure that vital services. A survey found that those who had seen 10 or more episodes UNAIDS/Stefan Attard of the show were significantly more likely to have used a condom than were non-viewers. Malta 17 The media and HIV/AIDS . The weekly award-winning television soap SIDA dans la Cité (AIDS in the City). The Kaiser Family Foundation. The series revolves around the life of a family affected by HIV/AIDS and is produced as the key part of a condom social marketing campaign by Population Services International (PSI). produced in Côte d’Ivoire and shown on Ivorian Radio and Television (RTI) and across French West Africa. such as Black Entertainment Television and Univision. These extensive public education partnerships promote dedicated toll-free hotlines and websites to direct viewers seeking more information to local HIV counselors or testing centers. partners with top media companies. grass-roots organizations. and even treatment and care. Broadcasters can also join with partners to educate about HIV/AIDS and publicize the availability of services.

In India. the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the BBC World Service Trust. These two goals should not be mutually exclusive. television serials. Haath se Haath Milaa (Let’s Join Hands). The campaign has been largely based on education through entertainment. the national television service. A number of programmes have served to inform their audiences about the virus while. achieving market success. India The media and HIV/AIDS 18 Doorda rs Nation han/BBC Wo al AIDS rld Serv Contro ic l Organ e Trust/ isation . at the same time. joined forces in 2002 to launch the country’s first-ever mass media campaign to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS. messaging about HIV/AIDS must be both educational and entertaining. Doordarshan. Publicity for Jasoos (Detective) Vijay and Haath se Haath Milaa (Let’s Join Hands).UNAIDS • Educating and entertaining To be effective. (the international development arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation). with two key strands being the popular interactive detective series Jasoos (Detective)Vijay and the award-winning weekly ‘reality’ youth show.

South Africa education campaign with development of youth friendly services and support programmes countrywide. domestic violence and substance abuse. One of the most keenly watched programmes in Nicaragua is Sexto Sentido (Sixth Sense). or television soap opera. a hard-hitting ‘social soap opera’ that tackles issues such as sexuality. The move by the Brazilian Government to begin distribution of free antiretroviral drugs was also mirrored in Malhaçao’s storyline. the TV Globo company placed an HIV-themed serial at the heart of its programme schedule. Malhaçao (Working Out). South Africa’s loveLife campaign. For example. Viewers are therefore given information about the virus and how to protect themselves while watching an enjoyable programme at the same time. When dramatized in a compelling manner. according to an independent survey. rape. home of the extraordinarily popular ‘telenovela’. In Brazil. It reaches 80% of 13–17-year-olds and is the highest-rated show in its time slot. The South African Broadcasting Corporation is loveLife’s broadcast 19 The media and HIV/AIDS loveLife . combines a highly visible and sustained multi-media awareness and Campaign material targeting youth. launched in late1999.UNAIDS Both programmes have proved popular with audiences and Jasoos Vijay was voted ‘Best Thriller Series’ in the prestigious Indian Television Awards 2003. ‘socially responsible’ soap operas can attract and help to educate large numbers of viewers and listeners. 85% of respondents to the campaign said they had learned something new and almost a third said they had discussed messages with friends. dealing with issues facing young people in Brazil. captured huge audiences when its teenage protagonist learned that she was HIV-positive. loveLife is able to greatly extend the scale and scope of its media campaign through cost-sharing partnerships with key media organizations.

This competition reflects the company’s policy of placing African voices at the very heart of its coverage of the epidemic. as a result of this programming. has played an integral role in promoting the Scenarios from Africa competition in which young people are asked to submit a proposal for a short film on AIDS. the number of HIV tests and requests for counselling more than doubled in Japan. including PCI (Population Communications International). NHK. delay of sexual debut and increased condom use. During the programme’s run. Just a Little More Time) that revolved around a schoolgirl who was HIV-infected after becoming a sex worker. the national television network in Japan. including greater abstinence. not least of which are the problems brought by HIV/AIDS. aired Shooting of Bai Xing soap opera. The winning concept is produced and aired by several national and international networks. as well as co-production funding. including TV5. CCTV. Bai Xing has proved a popular and award-winning show. China a serial called Kamisama Mo Sukoshidake (Please God. The French company. There are numerous examples of other programmes around the world that have echoed this success. They have been able to follow the struggles of Lüye and her family as they tackle many issues. TV5.UNAIDS Richard Stanley partner providing extensive radio and television airtime. For example. Respondents in a national survey of youth reported changes in their sexual behaviour. More than three quarters said loveLife had made them aware of the risks involved in unprotected sex. In China. CCTV and a number of partners. The media and HIV/AIDS 20 . Broadcasters have also encouraged audiences to become actively involved in combating HIV/AIDS themselves. have brought the soap opera Bai Xing (Ordinary People) to millions of viewers.

A number of companies have implemented this model to great effect. In the first two years alone. many people who might not necessarily pay much attention to a traditional AIDS campaign. not just outlets and public service messages dedicated specifically to the issue. Viacom will have committed more than US$240 million in media space across its properties to the effort. hotlines. Viacom Billboard from KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign 21 The media and HIV/AIDS . The fact that the virus affects all sections of society and all walks of life is subtly reinforced if it is explored in this way.UNAIDS • Mainstreaming Broadcasters are ‘mainstreaming’ the HIV issue across a number of programmes. under its KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation. utilizes all the company’s properties to disseminate information about HIV/AIDS. in-store and in-product advertising. including targeted public service messages on television. are nevertheless exposed to HIV-related education messages. ensuring that the message permeates a diverse range of output. competitions. public service announcements. as well as complementary online and print resources. information and messages about HIV-related attitudes and behaviour. radio and outdoor. news items. concerts. integrated messages in TV shows. or who would not choose to watch AIDS programming. special programming. For example Viacom. The most effective media initiatives on HIV have many outlets. As a result. books and websites can all be linked together to reinforce awareness. A coordinated. Documentaries. multifaceted campaign has greater impact than a single programme.

The NTV Channel and the radio station Echo of Moscow (Gazprom) have also ensured that the virus has received widespread coverage and been kept near the top of the news agenda. The BBC World Service launched a two-week season of programming. The media and HIV/AIDS 22 . and online coverage of the epidemic to mark World AIDS Day 2003. In recent years. in the lead-up to World AIDS Day. reports about the epidemic. documentaries. whether through medical news programmes. HBO. The company’s high-profile interviews with several world leaders and celebrities. The Chinese national station. Metro TV in Indonesia has consistently broadcast HIV/AIDS-related news and featured comment and analysis about the epidemic in talk-shows and documentaries. broadcast some 230 news items on HIV/AIDS in the first 10 months of 2003. CNN has also run a special season of HIVrelated programming. radio call-ins or studio discussions. In the US. along with phone-ins and ‘webchats’ with other public figures. generated broad coverage of HIV for audiences around the world. Spain’s Radiotelevision Espanola (RTVE) has also worked to keep discussion of the virus in the public domain. including news reports. broadcast a five-part documentary series in the summer of 2003 entitled Pandemic: Facing AIDS. China Central Television (CCTV).UNAIDS • Putting HIV/AIDS on the news agenda and encouraging leaders to take action Another key area for media involvement in AIDS education efforts is ensuring that the topic is kept at the top of the news agenda. aimed at raising awareness. Each year. which included a large news component. this has led to two months of special programming. the Time Warner network. several leading broadcasters from around the world have found innovative ways to report on the epidemic. Since 1996.

mass media campaign targeting young people. again. pooling material Several successful campaigns have benefited from. In 2002. In 2003.UNAIDS Mounting an effective global response to AIDS is clearly an expensive challenge. the opportunity of pooling resources with other outlets by sharing expertise and material. this facility resulted in Staying Alive programmes being aired on television stations serving some 800 million households worldwide when rebroadcasts on CCTV were added. reached up to 2 billion viewers. the global. has consistently offered its products rights-free to all other broadcasters. the greater the resources they invest in anti-AIDS strategies. multipartnership. Credit photo • Sharing resources. A virtuous circle should result: the more leaders see about HIV in the news. and insufficient resources have been invested in this effort to date. has an impact on leaders’ priorities. and fully utilized. broadcasters play a vital role in encouraging world leaders and policy-makers to take the epidemic seriously and provide the resources necessary to fund adequate prevention and treatment programmes. the documentary Meeting Mandela was watched across the world and the 46664 concert. launched by Nelson Mandela in association with MTV Staying Alive and other partners. which. In ensuring that HIV remains ‘headline news’. MTV Staying Alive. thanks in part to MTV 23 The media and HIV/AIDS MTV . Staying Alive ‘Clinton Uncut’: former US President Bill Clinton debates HIV/AIDS issues with young people. which in turn leads to increased media coverage of the issue and helps to sustain public awareness.

producers and reporters can be advised about the most pressing and relevant aspects of the HIV issue from a news perspective. Viacom and BBC joined forces to develop messages in Africa and the Caribbean. can bring significant benefits for both parties. government departments and foundations. while editors. Broadcasters can trade resources with campaign partners. Broadcasters can also build partnerships to fully exploit their combined audiences and expertise. as a result of the KNOW HIV/AIDS partnership. symbiotic alliances with NGOs.UNAIDS encouraging rebroadcasts of the concert on other networks. for instance. Again. providing a strong example of two major international broadcasters harnessing their collective resources and reach to bring awareness spots and longerformat programmes to millions of viewers and listeners from a diverse range of regions and backgrounds. giving access to up-todate accurate information and building HIV knowledge within creative media teams. Creative teams on drama series can be briefed about useful messages and how a specific audience might be reached. Broad. The media and HIV/AIDS 24 MTV . and in return receive the expertise that partners have to offer on HIV advocacy. such as access to airtime. the Kaiser Family Foundation have offered the broadcaster expertise in terms of pinpointing key messages. • Capacity-building Nelson Mandela interacts with young people in MTV Staying Alive Special –‘Meeting Mandela’ Successful partnerships need not necessarily be with other media outlets.

The media can make AIDS programming a key part of their output and. youth programme. including the following: Conclusion: • • • • • Giving the epidemic prominent news coverage Dedicating airtime/space to HIV/AIDS public service messages Supporting the broadcasting of HIV/AIDS special programming Supporting the development of AIDS storylines in existing programming Making public service messages and original programming available to other outlets on a rights-free basis Filming Haath se Haath Milaa. . appreciate and find entertaining. Broadcasters are already undertaking impressive work on HIV. the media have an essential role to play in reversing the progression of HIV. Broadcasters can talk to listeners and viewers about HIV in a language they understand. their corporate strategy.UNAIDS Fighting HIV/AIDS — a corporate priority The mass media are clearly vital in the world’s fight against the virus. India 25 The media and HIV/AIDS Doordarshan/BBC World Service Trust/ National AIDS Control Organisation The task at hand requires vision. They can put pressure on the powerful to take the disease seriously and give people the information they need to protect themselves and those they love. They can build partnerships and alliances. creative programming that truly engages audiences. This can be done in a number of ways. but much more needs to be done. dedication and. above all. In short. indeed.

CA 94025 – Telephone: 650.kff.347.9400 – Fax: 650.org .org – Internet: http://www.5270 – Fax: 202.347.G M AIDS I Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) UNAIDS – 20 avenue Appia – 1211 Geneva 27 – Switzerland Telephone: (+41 22) 791 36 66 – Fax: (+41 22) 791 41 87 – E-mail: unaids@unaids.5274 – Internet: http://www.W. DC 20005 – Telephone: 202.854. N. Kaiser Family Foundation 2400 Sand Hill Road – Menlo Park. – Washington.org The Henry J.854.unaids.4800 Washington Office: 1330 G Street.