AIDS Ignorance in South Africa Is Down, Survey Says
January 29, 2010
Results from the Second National HIV and AIDS Communication Survey (NCS) 2009 show awareness and prevention efforts are influencing behaviors in South Africa.
"The more programs people were exposed to, the more likely they are positively influenced. This is a clear indication that the programs are having a substantial impact on South Africans," said Dr. Larry Kincade, a senior researcher at Johns Hopkins University and an expert on communication interventions in South Africa.
HIV/AIDS knowledge has increased significantly since the first survey was conducted in 2006, with an "overwhelming majority" of people last year reporting that condoms are effective at preventing HIV transmission and that having multiple partners increases the risk of becoming infected. The 2009 survey also found that more South Africans are discussing HIV testing with their partners, and these couples are likely to get tested.
However, the results show a need for sustained prevention messages, strengthening the links between alcohol, sex and HIV, and increasing education surrounding safe feeding practices for HIV-positive mothers.
"The [NCS] is a great barometer of how communication is increasing knowledge about HIV and bringing about change in people's attitudes to having responsible sexual lifestyles, and provides the foundation for an evidence-based national HIV communication strategy," said Junaid Seedat, communication, advocacy and campaigns manager for the South African National AIDS Council.
The Mercury (Durban)