"Choice" to Help Young South Africans Facing AIDS, Unemployment
July 24, 2006
"Choice" is an interactive radio and television program designed to give South African youth a forum to discuss their problems and receive feedback from experts and peers. The government-financed program is broadcast every Tuesday on TV channel SABC 1 and then debated on radio Metro FM.
In addition to HIV/AIDS, which affects 6 million South Africans, young people participating in "Choice" discuss unemployment, career plans, teenage pregnancy, violence, and parental relations.
"The program is about life-changing choices," said Paddy Nhalpo, campaign manager for "Choice." "The participants are people who have not made their choices, [they are] young people who are faced with a dilemma, who need guidance, so that they can make an informed choice." Nhalpo said he believes the program's popularity is due to the fact that "it's about real people, real stories, there are no actors."
Nomfundo Ndlovu, 20, has been with her boyfriend for four years and had a baby with him before finding out she is HIV-positive. The baby's father refuses to get tested for HIV and will not use condoms, Ndlovu explained to the audience. "Should I insist on my boyfriend using a condom or not?" she asked. "Do I not risk losing him? He says he'll die before he gets tested."
Young people in the audience called out their advice: "Leave him," "Start a new life," "It's like he's not interested in your life." Doctors and social workers on the set shared their opinions, informing young people in similar situations of what choices they have.
Thami Skenjana, director of the Government AIDS Action Plan, which assists in the show's production, said audience feedback has exceeded expectations. The program has helped show people that "the choice that you make today will either make you live or die in the future," he said.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.