IMPACT OF MASS MEDIA ON HIV\AIDS CAMPAIGN AMONGS TEENAGERS IN ENUGU METROPOLIS
1.1 Background of Study
Like many African countries, Human Immuno deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a serious concern in Nigeria. By the turn of the century, it was estimated that the HIV prevalence in Nigeria had exceeded 5%, which corresponds with approximately four million infected people. In 2010, the HIV prevalence had exceeded 5.4%, with some estimates putting the number of infected Nigerians around 5 million. The estimated annual deaths as a result of HIV/AIDS has increased from 50,000 in 1999 to over 350,000 in 2004, at enormous cost to the economic and health sectors in the country. . Consequently, some countries in Africa, including Nigeria, have responded by drawing up HIV/AIDS communication strategies to
strengthen their national response capacities to the epidemic (Srivastava et al, 2011).
Although various communication intervention campaigns have shown ways for prevention and care for those living with AIDS, the health outcomes on HIVAIDS, remain relatively low (Keating, 2006). This is despite available literature which have shown that communication intervention is associated with positive health outcomes.
Behaviour change communication activities through mass media have been shown to be an effective approach in improving people’s knowledge about various diseases (Fakolade, 2010). The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) remains the most serious of infectious disease challenges to public health apart from Ebola virus and therefore there is need for communication intervention to improve people’s knowledge about health outcomes related to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The United Nations adopted to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS as one of its Millennium Development Goals. The estimated number of persons living with HIV and deaths due to AIDS worldwide in 2013 was 33.2 million and 2.1 million respectively. Nearly ninety five percent of the global total, live in the developing world (Srivastava et al, 2011). The biggest challenge lies in developing programmes to spread awareness and to induce behavioral changes among the populace.
Perhaps, the most powerful role of the media is setting the appropriate agenda in the goal of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support, especially given that the way a problem is defined determines the way the people try to solve it. The ability of the media to convey adequate and accurate information can be highly effective and successful in creating awareness and knowledge that can lead to changes in social contexts within which individuals operate, especially in developing countries (Okidu, 2013).
Out of the estimated 33.2 million people worldwide living with the virus in 2012, Nigeria has the third-largest number after India and South Africa, with an estimated figure of 2.9 million. An estimated 168,474 people in the country became newly infected in this year. The first National HIV/AIDS Strategic Framework in Nigeria was implemented from 2001 to 2004, while the second phase was from 2005 to 2009. At the expiration of the first phase, the National Response review report indicated significant achievements in several areas of its implementation, including the response of the mass media and generally the communication sector (NACA, 2005).
People living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) often face stigma and
discrimination, especially in developing countries. HIV-related stigma is expressed through social ostracism, personal rejection, direct and indirect discrimination, and denial from families and friends. Consequently, it is associated with reduced adoption of preventive and care behaviours, including condom use, seeking for HIV test and careseekingbehaviour subsequent to diagnosis. Ignorance about the epidemiology of the disease on modes of transmission and prevention aggravates HIV-related stigma in Nigeria. Fakode (2010) found that, exposure to mass media communications on HIV and AIDS issues and social support were significantly related to the reduced stigma and discrimination against PLWHAs.
In response to the growing HIV epidemic in Nigeria, the mass media which aimed to increase use of family planning, child survival, and HIV/AIDS services as mass-mediated intervention campaign,initiated the Programme, “About HIV/AIDS”.
The programme “About HIV/AIDS” provides information on the recent discoveries in the medical field relating to the treatment and management of HIV/AIDS and educate the public to avoid discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS. This programme focuses on youths, sex workers, people living with HIV/AIDS, psychoactive substance users, transport workers, uniform service personnel, and person engaging in same sex, low income population, health care providers and policy makers.
Health communication falls within the sphere of behaviour change
communication (BCC). As an agent of social change, communication plays a leading role in all spheres of human endeavour, health inclusive (Asherpe, 2012, p.1). Communication is the medium through which relationships are proposed, cultivated, established and sustained. It provides a means for interpersonal, intrapersonal and group actions, interactions and sharing of ideas. It also cultivates and creates atmosphere for policy facilitating behaviour change as Singhal and Rogers (1999: 62) note, requires that the barriers to behaviour change are modified or diminished before new, healthier behaviours are tried and possibly adopted.
Correspondingly, the significance of health communication is very critical because if people are to inter-culturally interact with other people, it is important to understand how socio-cultural factors shape the well-being of others. Owing to that, effective health care delivery relies on clear and effective communication which is an essential element in every form of medicine and health care between all of the individuals who are involved: patients, physicians, and other health care professionals. If, in any way, communication between health care providers and patients is not clear, the entire medical treatment process can be problematic and clear communication may be hindered when the participants come from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Thus, it is exactly the health care provider who is responsible for communicating effectively with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, meaning that a fundamental understanding of the relationships among health care providers (Bakic, 2012).
It is against this backdrop that this study is set to examine the impact of mass media campaign on HIV/AIDS among teenagers in Enugu metropolis.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) remains the most serious of infectious disease challenges to public health (Srivastava et al, 2011). Nigeria is one of several sub-Saharan African countries trying to deal with the current HIV/AIDS epidemic. One of the strategies to address the situation is through mass media campaign focusing on HIV/AIDS awareness, perception, and behaviour modification. An example of such communication intervention is the Radio Nigeria programme, “About HIV/AIDS”, which aims at increased awareness and knowledge of HIV/AIDS preventive behaviour.
However, public perception of the programme and the role of the mass media in awareness creation with regard to HIV/AIDS is not known. Understanding public perception of “About AIDs” Radio Nigeria programme is important for effective mass media campaign and mobilization against HIV/AIDS. This study therefore assesses public perception of Radio Nigeria “About HIV/AIDS” programme and how this
perception translates into increased awareness of HIV/AIDS.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following objectives were addressed by the study. Therefore, the study sought to:
- Assess public awareness of “About HIV/AIDS”mass media campaign among teenagers in Enugu metropolis.
- Examine the influence of the exposure to the programme on audience attitude to HIV/AIDs and PLHA
- Analyse public’s perception of the utility of the HIV/AIDsprogramme.
- Ascertain how public perception has influenced HIV/AIDS preventive, treatment and control.
- Determine perceived strategies to improve public’s perception of “About
HIV/AIDs” radio programme.
1.4 Research Questions
These research questions guided this study:
i.To what extent are the public aware of “About HIV/AIDS”mass media
i.What is the influence of the exposure to “About HIV/AIDS” on public’s attitude to
- What is the public’s perception of the utility of the HIV/AIDs programme.
- To what extent has “About HIV/AIDS” influenced publics’ perception of
HIV/AIDS preventive, treatment and control.
- What are the perceived strategies to improve public’s perception of the “About HIV/AIDs” radio programme.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Professionally, this study will be of immense importance to radio station operators in the country as it will help them to know the perception of the people on, About AIDS. It will also be of importance to the audience if by any means, station managers adjust to the findings of this work by repositioning themselves better for effective health communication delivery.
Academically, this study will help provide a volume of literature on the issue of health communication. In Nigeria, few studies have tried to look at public perception of the communication intervention in health-related challenges; however, none known to the researcher, has examined the perception of the audience on“About HIV/AIDS”. It is, therefore, worthwhile to fill the literature gap by examining audience perception of “About HIV/AIDS” Radio Nigeria, Enugu, programme. It is envisaged that the literature to be provided in this study, will serve as a reference material for people researching on perception on health communication intervention radio programmes.
- Definition of Terms
In order to aid the understanding of the terms used in this study, the following terms were conceptually and operatively discussed.
This refers to audience members’ opinion of “About HIV/AIDS” Radio programme as a result of exposure to the programme. The perception measured here includes audience perception of the utility of the “About
This denotes a show or performance on radio especially one that is played regularly. It signifies various shows and performances on the radio which are aired at regular time intervals.
This is media content that is regularly scheduled and aired at specific regular times. It means all radio Nigeria programmes that people listen to.
In this case, “About HIV/AIDS”.
This is a health campaign and public awareness programme on radio Nigeria Enugu on HIV/AIDS. As a result of the scourge of HIV/AIDS, the programme was introduced on air to create awareness on the dangers in casual sex, immorality which contribute to the contact of the virus. The programme also highlighted the causes, treatment, prevention and management of HIV/AIDS. The programme “About HIV/AIDS”, provides information on the recent discoveries in the medical field relating to the treatment, management of HIV/AIDS and educate the public to avoid discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS.