Public Relation Essay on Campaigning against HIV/AIDS

Campaigning against HIV/AIDS

Introduction

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is an infectious disease caused by human immune deficiency virus. It affects the immune system of people thereby making them be prone to opportunistic infections. Montgomery, a county in Alabama is recorded to exhibit the highest per capita rate of HIV infection in the state of Alabama and among the highest rates in the Southern United States. The Montgomery Aids outreach an AIDS organization in Alabama is currently serving over 1200 patients living with HIV/AIDS. The organization manages its functions from the HIV/AIDS endemic in Alabama State. The organization faces a number of challenges. Among the issues, the most intimidating one is the continuous widespread of the disease, throughout the state of Alabama. This, therefore, calls for urgent attention in order to target strategies for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention (Casey, 2011, Para 1). Survey has shown that human behavior is influenced by knowledge, attitude, and perception towards condoms. It is good to make young individuals be aware of the existence of HIV/AIDS, as good knowledge will help them make an informed choice.

Statement of the problem

HIV/AIDs has been reported in many states apart from Alabama to comprise of 120,000 children who are infected with the disease. This shows the need to come up with strategies to tackle the menace by conducting an awareness campaigns. Based on the findings from data on the number of people who are affected, the recommendation should be made to make learners of the disease so that they have knowledge about their sexual behavior like having unprotected sex (Aral et al., 2013, pp. 345).

Situation analysis

From the data given by UNAIDS, it is reported that around 40 million of people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS. Alabama being one of the most affected states. In responses to this number, many states have established councils and groups to monitor the epidemic, which involves coordination, prevention and intervention programs. This is why the Montgomery AIDS Outreach is should also come up with an effective way of reaching out a bigger percentage of the community in order to educate them on the necessary measures to prevent the continuous widespread of the disease. This HIV/AIDS epidemic requires national, regional and international intervention in its control. The health care system in the state of Alabama includes community health centers, the local hospitals, government qualified health centers and HIV-specific clinics. However, the state still struggles with the lack of providers. Additionally, the state lacks a public transport system and has an ultra limited rural transportation system. This is why it is difficult to reach so many people in the community. The vulnerable groups to the disease are AIDS orphans and women who are pregnant. Usually, girls and women are the most susceptible to the disease infection. It is reported that women between the ages of 15-24 years of age are more than twice being likely to be infected with the disease as compared to men of the same age group (Ajayi 2003, pp. 112). Prevalence is higher mostly in urban setting than rural.

Goals and objectives

The goals and objective of the campaign will be
1.) Increase knowledge about the disease by giving them basic facts about HIV/AIDS
2.) Stimulate community dialogue by having different modes of communication methods.
3.) Promote attitude change by believing on safe support practices and health supporting services.
4.) Create avenues for communication services
5.) Improve self- efficacy on safer sex.

Target group

 Several people are going to benefit from the campaign that is to be launched. Some of them include local, regional, national, organizations in public and private sector. For example, the campaign will target sex workers, track drivers, drug users who involve themselves in exchanging needles, women and youth. This are the targeted group that are vulnerable to the disease hence the campaign will make them have a behavioral change.

Conceptual framework

The first AIDS cases were confirmed in Africa in Malawi in 1980s. Since then, the disease has always been monitored by conducting campaigns on good behavior thereby resulting into its decline. This decline may be because of behavioral change among the people. However, young pregnant women in the age of 15-24 have always been high. To this regard, there is a need for scaling up the response by having prevention efforts. This will also help reduce new infections that may occur. With the implementation of access to care initiative, Montgomery AIDS Outreach has been working on amplifying its reach as it collaborates with AIDS Action coalition (AAC) in Huntsville, Al as well as Whatley Health Services (WHS) in Tuscaloosa. For the purpose of providing access to HIV-specific care in forty-seven of the Alabama’s sixty-seven counties (Casey, 2011, Para 4). In 2001, UN took a step and signed a declaration committed at addressing HIV/AIDS crisis, which they recognized that prevention is better than trying to cure it. In this proposal, I am going to explain how I will conduct my campaign against HIV/AIDS, which will reduce its prevalence among the youth, women and children who are the most vulnerable group.

Communication strategies

It has been realized that communication strategy can make significant contribution in bringing behavioral change among the individuals. The strategies for effective communication will be done through interpersonal interaction and utilization of the mass media. The most effective way of communication is interpersonal interaction as it aids in influence the behavior or groups in several ways. For one, there is influence by the opinion leader belonging to that particular group to whom the message has been constructed for (Fuller 2009, pp. 149). The content of the message is also realized to be more harmonized with the local culture, norms, tradition and values. Interpersonal communication has also been touted to be good in addressing sensitive issues of the sexual behavior.

On the other hand, the mass media may have disadvantage in that it is for a short duration hence for sustaining awareness, I will use interpersonal communication in most cases in addition to mass media, by gathering groups within the area in order to realize behavior change mostly in HIV/AIDS prevention campaign. Mass media has an advantage in that it can reach many people as opposed to interpersonal communication hence using it also help me target a larger group. Even with the transportation barriers, mass media can help reach individuals who are unreachable by the members of the organization. Behavioral change can be realized through interpersonal communication as it can be evaluated very easily. This is because one can get convinced more easily while having a face-to-face discussion as opposed to the use of media. This shows that mass media cushions some of the disadvantages that is posed by interpersonal communication. Mass media in addition can help reinforce roles in families and communities mostly in the rural and uneducated communities. Mass media can help in face-to-face communication by delivering effective information. Both forms of communication helps in addressing diverse individual and group concern while at the same time honoring private nature of sexuality in human (Fuller 2008, pp. 149). To achieve successful goals, it is good to address health issues by use of two many dimensional methods to convey the same message.

Adjustment and evaluation of the Campaign

In the event that the message will not have reached the target group, or if the coverage is still below the expected, adjustments will be made to have a longer campaign in order to have a successful campaign. This is because it will greatly affect on the innovators and for people to adopt the behavioral change. Long coverage will help cover a larger number of audiences in terms of gender, socioeconomic status, religion and culture (Ambasa-Shisanya 2003, pp. 55). This will include encouraging the youths on the importance of undergoing circumcision, and advocating for the use of condoms in the event that one cannot abstain. It is also essential to encourage them to go for blood check in order to know their status. In addition, it gives the media an opportunity to design programs that help engage community and NGOs to participate on the debate of HIV/AIDs campaign.

When it comes to evaluation of the campaign, the first step will be to check if the campaign has met the objectives and goal that were outlined or not. It will also be done based on the message exposure to people by estimating and analyzing the number of participants of the workshops, attendance in seminars, and public participation in media. An estimated number of people will be examined based on their understanding of the message (Ambasa-Shisanya 2009, pp. 55). The level of media coverage will be by checking how many contents of the campaign were televised or advertised through gazette, radio and television networks. Attitude of the people towards HIV prevention measures by checking on the number of people who attended checkups.

Conclusion

In conclusion, HIV/AIDs is a disease that affects the globe and it has resulted into many losses of lives. Many countries have adopted strategic plans on how to cub the menace. Those who are susceptible include women and youths who are between the ages of 15-24. Strategic campaigns have been realized to contribute in prevention of the disease. This is done by sensitizing the youth on the safe methods of having sex, which can be done through interpersonal communication or through the media.

Bibliography

Ajayi, J. O. 2003, The HIV-AIDS epidemic in Nigeria: some ethical considerations, Roma, Pontificia Università Gregoriana.

Ambasa-Shisanya, C. R. 2009, Cultural determinants of adoption of HIV/AIDS prevention measures, and strategies among girls, and women in western Kenya, Addis Ababa, Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa

Aral, S. O., Fenton, K. A., & Lipshutz, J. A. 2013, The new public health and STD/HIV prevention: personal, public, and health systems approach, New York, Springer.

Casey, P. 2011. Montgomery AIDS Outreach: Providing HIV/AIDS care in rural Alabama. Retrieved from http://globemed.org/montgomery-aids-outreach-providing-hivaids-care-in-rural-alabama/

Fuller, L. K. 2008, African women’s unique vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS communication perspectives and promises, New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan. http://www.palgraveconnect.com/doifinder/10.1057/9780230616202. pg149