Communication to adolescents about HIV and AIDS through campus radio: suggestions from the literature
Van der Merwe, Nadia
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Education is currently reputed to be a vaccine against HIV/Aids. Many Aids campaigns use the cognitive behaviour model according to which behavioural change is the result of rational, individual decision-making based on acquired knowledge. Undoubtedly, mass media has a profound influence on the education and empowerment of individuals. The role of the media specifically in combating HIV/Aids was emphasised when national surveys conducted in the US revealed that 72% of Americans had identified television, radio and newspapers — and not family, friends or doctors — as their primary source of information about HIV/Aids. A particularly alarming fact is the extreme vulnerability of the youth — by the age of 23, one South African youth in five is HIV positive. A prominent section of the youth is present on the many university campuses. In this context, campus radio stations constitute one possible vehicle for communicating important health-related messages to this target group. This article aims to make recommendations for successful health communication through campus radio. The article first describes the role of campus radio by interrogating its social and civic role, and its active and participatory role. It goes on to identify specific challenges of HIV/Aids broadcasting pertaining to campus radio stations, and then makes suggestions on how to meet such challenges head-on.