Communication, Information and HIV/AIDS
The battle against HIV/AIDS and its devastating impact is the area of increasing concern to the UNESCO as a whole. UNESCO's focus on preventive education represents an important niche in the worldwide campaign to arrest and reverse this scourge.
Communication and information can help to fight HIV/AIDS by changing young people's behaviour through preventive education schemes.
UNESCO has undertaken a number of activities with the aim to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention among young people based on the new possibilities offered by ICT. An access to comprehensive and reliable youth-friendly information in quest of behavioral changes has been promoted.
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On the other hand, journalists are gaining increased confidence in reporting on the science of HIV/AIDS and young media professionals are learning to produce better programmes as they interact positively with affected people. The focus on the science of AIDS constitutes a new departure in terms of HIV media training.
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Young people and especially young girls are among the most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is becoming one of the leading causes of death among youth.
In the light of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and its targets to contain the spread of the epidemic, awareness-raising campaigns directed to youth supported by non-formal education and increased access to information sources emerge as an essential preventive element and a central pre-condition for reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among youth.
Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS infections are still fatal. Therefore, aggressive awareness and prevention campaigns are constantly needed. Various activities have been undertaken in the framework of the INFOYOUTH Programme, in support to the development of information networks, linking various youth groups and ensuring effective coordination and backing for its partners engaged in the anti-HIV/AIDS effort. This includes:
• providing logistical and financial support for on and off-line workshops and courses,
• design and implementation of coherent information and ICT training schemes adapted to regional contexts and directed to disadvantaged youth,
• creation of youth info-centres,
• content production, design and launching of specific web-sites on HIV/AIDS prevention,
developing info-materials and media campaigns
The focus on the science of AIDS constitutes a new departure in terms of HIV media training. Often, media training in this area centres on reporting the social and medical issues of HIV/AIDS but few journalists in countries hardest hit by AIDS are trained to access and handle the latest information on scientific developments.
UNESCO has piloted innovative training for journalists on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve reporting on HIV/AIDS. The training includes the use of ICT to gather basic scientific information about HIV/AIDS, to track the most recent research developments using the scientific literature and media "alerts", to identify and contact scientists engaged in research and others who may be in a position to comment on its significance.
“You, Me and HIV/AIDS” (a Global Young TV Producer’s Network on HIV/AIDS) is another project piloted by UNESCO. This project attempts to combat HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases by upgrading the knowledge and production skills of young TV producers who are currently engaged in health reporting for television in developing and least developed countries.
Link : UNESCO Website