Notes to broadcasters
Make sure you know the facts about HIV/AIDS so you can pass them on to your listeners through your programs. There are numerous myths and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and how it is spread. Take the opportunity to educate people about the realities of HIV/AIDS. To make programs that are really relevant to your audience, do some local research. Interview local health specialists. Find out the most common myths in your listening audience and then use your programs to dispel them. Remember, however, that simply presenting the facts is not enough. For example, people can’t be told to use condoms. Use more subtle approaches to persuade them to practise safe sex, such as dramatizations that demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of using condoms.
This fact sheet presents several prevalent facts and myths about AIDS that can be worked into HIV/AIDS programming. Item number 3 in this package presents some of these facts and myths in a game show format, and serves as one example of the many possible ways to present this information.
HIV is spread only in the following ways:
- By having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an HIV positive person.
- By sharing needles or syringes with an HIV positive person.
- During pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding from an infected mother to her baby.
- Through transfusion of blood from an HIV positive person.
Body fluids of an infected person that spread HIV are:
- Vaginal fluid
- Breast milk
- HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
- AIDS is the result of HIV infection.
- HIV infection can be prevented.
- HIV is not spread through casual social contact.
Statement Myth or Fact
(Some people say that condoms do not give much protection against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. This is not true. A condom gives a lot of protection if it is used properly.)
(In fact, after a person is infected with HIV, there is usually no change in that person’s health for quite a few years. The person feels well, is able to work as before and shows no signs of being sick. This period is normally around 10 years, with an average range of some 8 to 12 years in length. Rarely, a person can begin to show evidence of the infection as early as 5 years after the infection.)
To stop HIV/AIDS from spreading, people must:
- Have safe sex using a condom.
- Always practise safe sex.
- Have one sex partner only.
- Make sure their partner is not having sex with anyone else.
Adapted from the “Uniformed Services HIV/AIDS Peer Leadership Guide,” produced by Family Health International (Arlington, Virginia, USA) in collaboration with the Uniformed Services Task Force (Africa, Asia, North America, Europe). The first draft of the Guide was published in 2001.