Author(s): Keller S
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Abstract PIP: The mass media can be a powerful tool for teaching young people about the consequences of sexual activity. The HIV prevention media campaigns in Uganda have been instrumental in reducing HIV prevalence among young women in the 1990s. They produced a rise in monogamy, condom use in risky sexual relationships, and later age of sexual debut. Nevertheless, more research is needed to measure the influence of such campaigns on sexual behavior. In Uganda a nationwide campaign is promoting safer sex among adolescents, including abstinence, partner reduction, and condom use. Starting in 1995 the campaign by the Delivery of Improved Services for Health (DISH) Project, implemented by Pathfinder International and Johns Hopkins University, promoted HIV prevention messages through songs and soap operas, rap music contests, drama, and newsletters and posters. Eighty music groups performed songs about HIV prevention for target audiences 15-19 years old in 10 different districts. The winning song was recorded and distributed to taxi drivers and youth centers. In surveys of 1681 adolescents condom use among them increased from 46\% before the campaign to 69\% afterwards. The AIDS Information Center used radio announcements to promote HIV testing, with the result of young people turning up in large numbers. A 1993 survey of 6879 reproductive-age women also showed that about 13\% of those who had seen the videos of songs 3 years earlier vs. only 4\% of those who had not, were currently using contraception. Clinic locations, hotline telephone numbers, and referral networks can be included in mass media campaigns to enhance their effectiveness. If messages appear in different media simultaneously (music, television, radio, movies, and posters) the campaigns become even more effective. Focus group research and pretesting of materials help assess the effectiveness of materials before wide distribution.
This article was published in Netw Res Triangle Park N C
and referenced in Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics